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Posted October 1, 2010
<The Gondoliers> Gilbert & Sullivan's ''The Gondoliers'' is the last of their great collaborations (although many of their contemporaries thought ''Utopia, Ltd.'' deserved that honor). It appeared more or less musically complete form on a 1919 acoustic version, more complete on an electric one in 1927 (still considered the best of them all), a 1950 mono LP, and in two stereo LP sets with dialogue. And those were just the D'Oyly Carte recordings. EMI issued a stereo version with the Glyndebourne forces and Sony had one with the ''new'' D'Oyly Carte Company. All but the 1950 set have been available on CDs over the past few years, but now Naxos has remedied that omission by issuing that elusive mono set on a 2-CD budget set (8.110209.10) to sit proudly next to their releases from the same series, ''HMS Pinafore,'' ''The Mikado,'' and ''The Pirates of Penzance/Trial By Jury.'' This is the so-called ''Martyn Green'' series, although he did not appear in the ''Trial,'' ''Princess Ida'' and ''Sorcerer,'' the last two of which I sincerely hope Naxos will get to release right soon. Although the Naxos notes are wrong in saying Green played the title role in the old ''Mikado'' film with Kenny Baker, it is good to hear his cultivated voice as the Duke of Plaza Toro, along with his Duchess, Ella Halman, the best of the D'Oyly Carte contraltos after Bertha Lewis. The soprano leads are good if less than outstanding: Margaret Mitchell (Casilda) and Muriel Harding (Gianetta). For once, the tenor voice of Leonard Osborne is just right for the role of the gondolier (Marco); and the set is blessed with that deepest of bassos, Richard Watson, as Don Alhambra del Bolero. G&S veteran Isidore Godfrey is on the podium. The overture ends with the ''Cachucha'' music, an addition of the conductor, not Sullivan. While not quite the best of the several versions available, this one is a must for those who lived through and cherish the memory of the D'Oyly Carte second and third generation singers in their glory days.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.