Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

by Malcolm Sargent
     
 
Malcolm Sargent was at one time the musical director of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, so he brings real authority to this 1956 recording of "The Mikado," made with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and the Pro Arte Orchestra. The clarity of

Overview

Malcolm Sargent was at one time the musical director of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, so he brings real authority to this 1956 recording of "The Mikado," made with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and the Pro Arte Orchestra. The clarity of his conducting makes the score sparkle and brings out felicities of orchestration that are too often lost. The operetta's memorable vocal ensembles are among the high points of the recording; Sargent gives them a bracing precision and lucidity. His pacing tends to be on the slow side, which works well in the grandiose moments when his approach intensifies the parody elements, but his patter songs don't create the adrenaline rush -- "How are the singers ever going to make it through at that breakneck speed?" -- that's a big part of the fun. His reading is musically superb, but tends to be somewhat sober, and misses the playfulness that characterizes the most memorable Gilbert & Sullivan productions. The singers for the most part follow Sargent's lead, so there is little whimsy in the performances, and when there is, it tends to feel calculated rather than spontaneous. This is most apparent in Geraint Evans' Koko; his singing is flawless by operatic standards, but Koko is essentially a very silly character who shouldn't sound so robustly heroic. As the romantic leads, Richard Lewis sounds somewhat thin, where a more heroic sound would be appropriate, and Elsie Morison seems too mature for the girlish Yum-Yum. The most fully convincing and entertaining singers are Ian Wallace as Pooh-Bah and Monica Sinclair as Katisha. Even in a relatively reserved performance, the absurd humor and high spirits of "The Mikado" can't help bubbling through, and the vocal quality of most of the soloists, as well as the superb choral and orchestral performances, make this a version worth considering. The recording has excellent clarity, particularly for one of this vintage.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/08/2008
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
5099921344428
catalogNumber:
13444

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. The Mikado (The Town of Titipu), operetta  - Arthur Sullivan  - Owen Brannigan  - John Cameron  - Geraint Evans  - Peter Gellhorn  - William Schwenk Gilbert  -  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus  - Richard Lewis  - Elsie Morison  -  Pro Arte Orchestra  - Malcolm Sargent  - Jeannette Sinclair  - Monica Sinclair  - Marjorie Thomas  -  Ian Wallace

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