- Tom Jones, opera - Edward German - David Russell Hulme - Donald Maxwell - Richard Morrison - Richard Suart - Heather Shipp - Robert Courtneidge - Alexander M. Thompson - Gaynor Keeble - Marianne Hellgren Staykov - Paul Carey Jones - Karen Wise - Simon Butteriss - Giles Davies - Harry Beswick - Ashley Bremner - Rachel Harland - Catrine Kirkman - Elizabeth Menezes - Iestyn Morris - National Festival Chorus - National Festival Orchestra - Timothy Ochala-Greenough - Annette Stein - Charles Taylor - Rachel Chapman
- Tom Jones, opera: Additional Musical Numbers. Song. A Foundling Boy - Edward German - David Russell Hulme - Richard Morrison - Robert Courtneidge - Alexander M. Thompson - National Festival Orchestra - Charles Taylor
- Tom Jones, opera: Additional Musical Numbers. Song. By night and day - Edward German - David Russell Hulme - Robert Courtneidge - Alexander M. Thompson - Marianne Hellgren Staykov - National Festival Orchestra - Charles Taylor
- Tom Jones, opera: Additional Musical Numbers. Trio. Come away with m - Edward German - David Russell Hulme - Richard Morrison - Heather Shipp - Robert Courtneidge - Alexander M. Thompson - Marianne Hellgren Staykov - National Festival Orchestra - Charles Taylor
Edward German: Tom Jonesby David Russell Hulme
Edward German's operetta "Tom Jones," based on Henry Fielding's sprawling novel, was a huge success both in Great Britain and New York immediately after its premiere in 1907, but it quickly fell into that wasteland of operas that are often heard of, but rarely actually heard. Part of the problem is that the operetta genre was already slipping out of favor with the public by the time the piece was written. German was in many ways a successor to Arthur Sullivan, a fact Sullivan himself acknowledged, but his operettas, as tuneful and skillfully put together as they are, are no competition for the Savoy classics. German's operettas are more overtly Romantic than Sullivan's, and they incorporate English folk idioms, as well as popular music of the new century, but their texts are no match for W.S. Gilbert's brilliant librettos. "Tom Jones" is a thoroughly respectable essay in the form, written with a generous lyricism, graceful melodies, wit, and nuanced attention to period detail, and it should be of special interest to Anglophiles who love light British music of the early part of the century. Naxos has assembled a first-rate ensemble of performers -- there are no weak links here -- who make a strong case for the work's many virtues. Among the leads, soprano Marianne Hellgren Staykov and mezzo-soprano Heather Shipp are especially engaging and vocally outstanding, and baritone Richard Morrison is very fine in the title role. David Russell Hulme leads the National Festival Orchestra and Chorus in performances that are spirited and polished; this production is clearly a labor of love. The sound is full warm and clean, but does little to create a sense of theatrical space.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsDavid Russell Hulme Primary Artist
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Edward German's Tom Jones is a rare early 20th century operetta, which until now had not been recorded and released in its entirety. This Naxos recording (including three musical numbers omitted from the 1907 premiere) is well done--the orchestra, principals, and chorus all turn in well-executed performances that are believable and entertaining. The score is light, lilting, and certainly memorable. Richard Morrison was an excellent choice as the hero, and Marianne Hellgren Staykov is endearing as Sophia, Jones' beguiling romantic interest. All in all, this is a great first recording of a highly entertaining operetta.
Here's a first complete recording of a work (a hit in 1907, now long neglected) that's a link between the Savoy operas and the Broadway operettas of Kern and Romberg. Don't expect Richardson's "Tom Jones": much of the plot of the original novel is discarded, and what's left is about as racy as Georgette Heyer. The music, however, is wonderful period stuff, and is performed with sparkle and spirit, including three numbers deleted from the score at various times. Baritone Richard Morrison sounds a trifle mature for Tom--a teenager as the novel begins--but sings well, as do all the cast, down to the smallest roles (though Marianne Hellgren Staykov might have asked for a retake of Sophia's third act waltz song). The booklet includes photos from the original production and a detailed synopsis; no libretto, but lyrics are at the Naxos website. Highly recommended for G&S buffs.