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Publisher's Summary

The tragedy of King Lear receives an outstanding performance in an all-star cast led by Britain’s senior classical actor, Paul Scofield. He is joined by Alec McCowen as Gloucester, Kenneth Branagh as The Fool, Harriet Walter as Gonerill, Sara Kestelman as Regan and Emilia Fox as Cordelia. This is the 9th recording of Shakespeare plays undertaken by Naxos AudioBooks in conjunction with Cambridge University Press, and is directed by John Tydeman. It was released to mark the 80th birthday of Paul Scofield in January 2002.

©2002 CUP (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-01-17

This cold night will turn us all to fools & madmen

I think it was necessary for me to re-discover this when Trump is president. I might just need to read it every year until 2021. Anyway, I'm not done with this review, but need to sit in the rain a bit and think about it. Push my toes into the mud and think about mortality a bit. It certainly isn't a play I would have related to well in my twenties or even thirties, but as my parents age and as I age myself, I see the shadows of mortality approach. The certainty of youth, and the boldness of decades past are now gone. Replaced with, not madness no, an ache in the brain and those vain whispers that promise all is not lost and everything lasts.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Annoying

I suffered through the whole book, but found myself annoyed by the performances, especially the king who would let out the most annoying moans and screams at a volume that was jarring and disruptive. What might work on the stage did does not necessarily work for an audio book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Good but volume kept changing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

no. Too difficut to follow the charactors

Which scene was your favorite?

I liked the sound effects.

Any additional comments?

The voices volume kept changing so It was difficult to keep listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • zachary
  • bahama, NC, United States
  • 03-01-14

No life in this Lear.

What disappointed you about King Lear?

Any production of the play King Lear is anchored in the performance of Lear, and in this production I found the brilliant actor, Paul Scoffield's Lear to be lacking. I have listened many times to the Arkangel version with Trevor Peacock and is greatly more taking and engaging, as he plays Lear with some fire. <br/><br/>Paul Scoffield is a great actor and has done some great Lear's but this I fear this is not one of them. (There is a hard to get movie that he made which I found to be quite engaging (youtube)). In this audio-production, he has not life, no animation. In the opening scenes when Lear is throwing a tantrum, Scoffield's Lear barely raised his voice. It is if he was just mouthing the words.<br/><br/>The other characters that make the play are Lord and servant Kent as well as The Fool. In this production the character who plays Kent is good, but once again lacks the fire of the performance by Anton Lesser in the Arkangel production. <br/><br/>The actors who play Lear's daughters do a good job and it is interesting to hear the different take they give the parts than their counter parts with the Arkangel production. Both I find equally engaging though they are different interpretations of the characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Kent is one of the most engaging and interesting characters outside of Lear.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

Trevor Peacock as Lear.

What character would you cut from King Lear?

what kind of question is this? Shakespeare wrote the play with the characters it has, and none seemed superfluous. Why would one want to take a character out. It would be a different story then.

Any additional comments?

Each production of Shakespeare's play is an interpretation and the success lies with the actors and their performance. Not every production is guaranteed to be good, even if it has a giant of acting such as Paul Scoffield. One must I think listen to more than one version to get a real feel for the play.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Hardin
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • 11-25-11

An Adult Opportunity

Great to hear as a middle adult with aging parents and young adult children. What is the legacy of care that we want to leave? I am working on reading and listening to literature that we read as adolescents and young adults which were really meant for a later stage of emotional and intellectual development. This was a good one. Les Miserable, unabridged, was another.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

narrators were excellent and expressive. Helped me stay interested in the book and finish with my AP Lit assignment.

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Scofield is legenday!

Excellent sound quality and great acting. Well worth it! They cut the trial scene in act three scene six, so that was a little disappointing but otherwise great production.

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Horribly read

I was excited to get the story of King Lear but this sounds like it was recorded from the audience of a play. The voices were too many and I just couldn't follow it because of the hushed tones and bad audio.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Je suis Charlie
  • 01-07-16

Best over the top acting ever.

What made the experience of listening to King Lear the most enjoyable?

The awesome over the top performance of the titular king.

What was one of the most memorable moments of King Lear?

The first scene with King Lear and his daughters sticks in the mind.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

King Lear

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behavior—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting-on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

Any additional comments?

Don't be layin' no goats on stars.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • 11-28-17

Not unabridged

This is not actually an Unabridged recording. There are many scenes where lines are skipped, including large swathes of Act 3 Scene 6 and Act 4 Scene 2, and the entirity of Act 4 Scene 3.

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  • Denis Tamplin
  • 05-19-15

Excellent rendition of a classic

This had everything I was after. Being a classic, well studied at school it brought back all of the reminscences. I was hanging off the words and reflecting how different the meaning is now, later in life.
The readers were excellent
I will listen to this many times (something I rarely do)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful