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Kismet, a stage and film success of the mid-'50s, became a hot property again when Alfred Drake, who had starred in the Broadway and West End productions, undertook a U.S. tour in 1962. The original Broadway cast album was on Columbia Records, with the original soundtrack album on MGM. Soon, other labels wanted a recording in their catalogs, and Mantovani obliged Decca Records (London Records in the U.S.) with this version. (Capitol Records followed with one featuring Gordon MacRae and Dorothy Kirsten later in 1964; in 1965, RCA Victor recorded Drake when he brought his touring revival to Broadway.) Normally, an album such as this, on which individual singers are cast in specific roles, is categorized as a studio-cast recording; but any album on which Mantovani appears is a Mantovani album as far as the record industry is concerned, and accordingly the conductor receives top billing. In fact, the major presence on the disc is Robert Merrill, who plays the starring role of Hajj the street poet and, with his dramatic baritone, makes much of songs like "Rhymes Have I," "Fate," and "Gesticulate." But Adele Leigh, portraying Hajj's daughter Marsinah, also makes a good showing with "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," and, accompanied by Kenneth McKellar's Caliph, "Stranger in Paradise." McKellar is effective in "Night of My Nights," and Ian Wallace, as the Wazir, has lots of fun with "Was I Wazir?" George Forrest and Robert Wright's score, based on the works of Alexander Borodin, is well suited to Mantovani's heavily orchestrated approach, and the result is a superior rendition of a much-recorded Broadway favorite.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Kismet, musical (after works by Alexander Borodin)
1 4:10
2 1:55
3 2:35
4 2:12
5 4:00
6 3:07
7 4:53
8 2:28
9 4:47
10 2:44
11 2:15
12 4:32
13 4:54
14 2:43
15 1:15
16 1:18
17 2:36
blue highlight denotes track pick