Click here to return to the main site.

Music Review

Cover Image

Awakening - Live At 54 Below


Artist: Sierra Boggess
Label: Broadway Records and 54 Below
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 December 2013

Sierra Boggess is perhaps best known for her Broadway performances as Ariel in The Little Mermaid and as Christine in the 25th Anniversary Engagement of The Phantom of the Opera as well as portraying Christine in the Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies.  In her relatively short career, she has certainly worked with some of theatre's greats. Indeed she even gets two of them to write the liner notes for this release - Hal Prince, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Prince calls Sierra, “a crystal-clear soprano and she can belt with the best of 'em. Add to that, she's as good and true an actress as I've ever worked with and all of this talent is delivered in a beautiful package', while Lloyd Webber offers “Sierra is a one-off, a true original, someone who I cannot wait to work with again if she will allow me to.”

I have to admit, I'd not heard much of Boggess's singing prior to listening to this album, but I had heard the hype. Several associates of mine sight her as their favourite soprano from recent shows, and I know she got rave reviews (to a point) for The Little Mermaid. So, I was interested to hear what she would make of this sort of evening, and what the repertoire would feature. It's an eclectic mix, from Puccini to Parton, all backed on piano by her musical director Brian Hertz. Hertz is joined on a couple of numbers by Sierra's sister, Summer, on Cello, and even on one number by her father, Mike, on guitar.

I think it's fair comment to say that, for me, the more modern numbers work better in this environment than the more operatic pieces, of which there are few. Classical sopranos have never been my iPod wares of choice, so they left me a bit cold, and almost seemed like they were included to prove a point somehow. There are enough Musical Theatre numbers around to show off her versatility (an example being the excellently executed 'Lovely') without dipping into another genre pot. Boggess performs everything on here with apparent ease, and it's clear to see where the 'hype' has come from. I would have liked to have heard her sing some of the Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers 'straight' rather than in the 'Ultimate' medley that's included here, which is a pure send up of the numbers. I don't know if the Lord heard this before or after writing the liner notes (or at all), but for me it's the only mistake on the album.

The highlights are many - especially good are the more modern musical numbers such as 'Just Around The Riverbend' and 'Part of Your World'. I also loved 'A Quiet Thing', from the much overlooked Flora, The Red Menace. My favourite number on the album is 'Live Out Loud', from Lippa's A Little Princess, and a few more numbers of this ilk would have livened up the album a little. Production on the album, and the liner notes, is top notch, as is the norm with Broadway Records, although, as I said in a previous Live from 54 review, the evening would have benefited from a little fuller musical backing, although the cello does help with this somewhat.

Another winner from the record company that can do no wrong.


Ian Gude

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.

MP3 album
iTunes GB
MP3 album
MP3 album