Archive for May, 2008

ABBA – THE ALBUM vinyl reissue

28 May, 2008

ABBA - THE ALBUMAs part of a series of classic album vinyl reissues from Universal Music, ABBA – THE ALBUM is to be re-released as a 12 inch long-playing vinyl album, just as it was in 1977. The series will be released on 8 July 2008.

It seems an odd choice – a more obvious “classic” album might have been Arrival, Super Trouper, or Voulez-Vous or even ABBA.

MAMMA MIA! movie premiere dates

22 May, 2008

Several cast members of the MAMMA MIA! movie will be travelling the world in early July to attend various premieres of the film.

Expected (so far) at most of these dates are Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried. Presumably the world premiere in London and the New York premiere will see all the cast. Producer Tom Hanks is confirmed for the New York event.

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson will apparently be in attendance at the London (world premiere) and Stockholm events, and presumably also New York. Anni-Frid Reuss and Agnetha Fältskog have been invited to the Stockholm opening, but have apparently declined, despite media reports of an ABBA reunion that night. Word is Björn and Benny are definitely not going to Australia.

World premiere: Odeon Leicester Square, London: 1 July 2008 *
Amsterdam: 2 July
Berlin: 2 July *
London: 2 July (charity preview)
Stockholm: 4 July *
Sydney: 8 July (press junket only?) *
Melbourne: 9 July *
New York: 16 July *

(* announced cast attendance)

Additional information:
Meryl Streep coming to Australia for Mamma Mia
Buy tickets for the Prince’s Trust world premiere of Mamma Mia! The Movie
Attend MAMMA MIA! Film NY premiere + VIP after party

See ABBA World‘s Mamma Mia! The Movie section for all the latest news and more.

Seeing CHESS

18 May, 2008

CHESS - THE MUSICALLast night my partner and I saw an amateur production of CHESS here in Sydney. The musical was staged at the Theatre Royal, the very same theatre that hosted the Australian premiere run in 1990, and produced by the Balmain Light Opera Company (BLOC).

I realised upon arriving at the theatre that this was to be only the second time I had ever seen CHESS on stage. I saw it during that first Sydney season, but have missed the many amateur productions that have played around Sydney since then. I also missed the Melbourne “revival” production in Melbourne in 1997 due to its early closing.

Friends James, Cotton and Angus were also there. James has already reviewed the show, which covers a lot of what we all thought when we talked about the show over a drink afterwards.

There are some great songs in CHESS, and an interesting story, despite the frequent criticism of that aspect. The musical deserves a proper rethink and restaging – not this version, not the concert version that was held in London last week, and not the 2002 Stockholm version, which ditched most of the upbeat songs, and was frankly quite dreary (on the evidence of the CHESS på svenska CD and DVD).

But it seems like there are at least three conflicting visions for CHESS – Benny and Björn’s (CHESS på svenska), Tim Rice’s (CHESS in Concert), and this continuing touring version.

ABBA to reunite?

12 May, 2008

Today’s Sydney Daily Telegraph broke a story to set ABBA fans everywhere aflutter: “ABBA will reform” for the Stockholm premiere of the MAMMA MIA! movie on July 4. (read the story here)

Will this happen? Personally, I doubt it. The comment hints at the hype in the lead up to the 5th anniversary of MAMMA MIA! in April 2004, when all four were expected to join the celebration, but only Björn, Benny and Frida were there, Agnetha chosing to decline the invitation.

If it happens, I imagine it will be like the opening of the musical in Stockholm in February 2005: if all four turn up, it will be individually, the four never appearing together.

If indeed it does happen, and the four reunite in public in whatever fashion, I’ll be as happy as anyone else. But I’m not holding my breath.

There’s a bumper sticker that says: “Is it true, or did you read it in the Daily Telegraph?”

Read vintage ABBA articles

10 May, 2008

Join Agnetha and Frida in reading vintage ABBA articles @ ABBA WorldNew on ABBA World. You can now read a selection of vintage articles about ABBA. The articles cover the years from 1976 to 2004, from magazines and newspapers around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. Articles from such publications as Variety, Billboard, Reader’s Digest and even Playboy! (yes, that Playboy)

Go to ABBA World, then click on Years to access the Articles page. More articles will be added soon, so come back again for more from ABBA’s history.

Many thanks to my friend Samuel Inglles for transcribing many of the articles and sharing them with ABBA World and ABBA fans everywhere.

ABBA CD reissues

1 May, 2008

ABBA Gold, More ABBA Gold, Thank You For The MusicJust in time for the July opening of the MAMMA MIA! movie, Universal Music is re-releasing the popular compilations ABBA Gold, More ABBA Gold and the 4 CD box set Thank You For The Music.

ABBA Gold and More ABBA Gold will be repacked in Super Jewel Boxes. Both have updated liner notes and booklets, especially More ABBA Gold, which was last available in 1999, still in its original 1993 format.

Thank You For The Music will be repackaged in a similar format to 2005’s Frida 4xCD 1XDVD box set. It will contain new photographs and the same essays as the original 1994 set, with some “gentle” corrections.

The disc contents will feature the latest remastered versions of the songs.

Reaction to the news is typically split – some fans see the reissues as a “rip off of loyal fans”, while others see them as repromoting ABBA for new markets.

ABBA Gold has reportedly sold 26 million copies to date, while MAMMA MIA! (the stage musical) has been seen by 30 million people – that’s several million who have seen the musical who haven’t bought ABBA’s most popular CD. Many millions more will be seeing the movie in coming months, and may be inspired to go in search of the original ABBA songs.

I think that anything that spreads ABBA music to new audiences is a good thing.

ABBA Gold and More ABBA Gold are released at the end of May. Thank You For The Music is released in early June.

More information at ABBA – The Site.

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