Marking the triumphant return of live music to London’s West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber has brought together an 81-piece orchestra to record new album Andrew Lloyd Webber: Symphonic Suites from three of his best-loved musicals.
This recording is the first live performance to take place at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane, following Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres’ 2-year, £60m total restoration.
The Symphonic Suites album, which will be released in June 2021, is a recording of three newly-orchestrated suites from Evita, Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard, specially selected from Lloyd Webber’s repertoire of award-winning musicals.
Andrew Lloyd Webber:
“For over a year now, we have lived without the joy of live music. To bring an 81-piece orchestra into the new Theatre Royal Drury Lane for this first performance on the biggest stage in London, feels like a momentous step forward.
"As we fight to bring performers back to work and theatres back to life, I hope that this album might now take on a new meaning: the music which represents the triumphant and hopeful return of live music, theatre and entertainment across the world.
"It is wonderful and very moving for me to see brilliant musicians back where they belong.”
The orchestra performing these suites, conducted by Simon Lee, brings together some of the world's most skilled musicians, united after a year of separation. For some, this is a first chance to return to live recording after the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The recording was conducted in line with all the Government’s current Covid-19 protocols.
Peter Cobbin and Kirsty Whalley, recording engineers and co-founders of Such Sweet Thunder, said:
"The sound captured at Theatre Royal Drury Lane is akin to a world-class recording venue. In our collective 70-year experience of recording in venues the world over, we have never heard such a majestic sound stage.
"The vast stage of Theatre Royal Drury Lane allowed us to socially distance an entire symphonic orchestra, something that is not possible in any recording studio anywhere in the world. Like the unique heritage and legacy that comes with the exceptional renovation of Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the recordings marry characterful vintage and time-honoured analog with the latest state-of-art pristine technologies.
"Theatre Royal Drury Lane has provided a unique opportunity to create one of our greatest recordings ever. The sonic clarity, depth, detail and warmth of the theatre sits beautifully in the breathtaking aesthetic, surely an inspiration for any musician and performer."
LW Theatres' £60 million restoration of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, affectionately known as ‘The Lane’, is nearing completion. With one of London’s greatest auditoriums at its heart, ‘The Lane’ has been reimagined to offer all-day hospitality and entertainment, as well as world-class, unrivalled theatre formats. ‘The Lane’ will be a space for everyone, not just those headed to a show. Starting with this new recording, and after one of the most challenging periods in theatre history, ‘The Lane’ will revitalise central London post-lockdown – and for decades to come.
This year Phantom of the Opera celebrates 35 years in the West End, while the filmed production of Sunset Boulevard, which first opened in London in 1993 at Leicester Curve, will be re-released for audiences to view between 10th to 15th May. Evita has been running in the West End for 43 years.
The timely release of the Symphonic Suites album will honour the three historic musicals, and celebrate the long-awaited return of theatres in London and across the world.
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Symphonic Suites is released on Decca Records in June 2021