'Someone Else's Story' sees the return of New Zealand-born performer Meredith Braun after a ten-year break. During her fruitful career, she played lead roles in 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'Les Miserables', 'Sunset Boulevard' to name but a few. She also starred as Belle in 'The Muppet Christmas Carol', the Disney film released in 1992. This album, produced by Stage Door Records, showcases new material from Braun and is a reminder of just how good she was, and evidently still is.
With Paul Bateman on piano and Justin Pearson on cello, the arrangements are fairly simple but incredibly well done. There are no gimmicks, it is purely about the voice which is beautiful and almost haunting on some tracks. She has fantastic technique and sings well across all dynamics and throughout her vocal register. I personally think Braun is strongest with her belt which she is able to showcase during 'Meadowlark' and 'Wait a Bit'. The latter is a big favourite of mine and it would take a certain person to match the version sung on the Original Cast Recording of 'Just So' by Julie Atherton; but Braun's interpretation equally packs a punch! On reflection, I would like to have heard more of her belt but this said, her capability was more than demonstrated.
Braun herself chose the content for this album and she must be complimented highly on her selections; especially as all have been executed with such purity and clarity. The automatic assumption is that Braun would have recorded those songs with which she was once associated; however, it was brave and commendable to unveil something new. Such material would suit a performance in an intimate venue and I hope this will be considered.
Having played Christine in 'The Phantom of the Opera' back in 2000, it was a good choice and a natural progression to record 'Love Never Dies' from the sequel. This is where the added maturity in Braun's voice comes to light and assists greatly in the number. Also being a wife and mother now herself must have helped with the transition. Furthermore, choosing to sing in French and Italian in the bonus tracks is a massive undertaking and one which she delivers with style and conviction.
A brilliant exhibition of Braun's talents; highly recommended.
Photo: Stage Door Records