Gilbert & Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance [1968 Recording]

Gilbert & Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance [1968 Recording]

by D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
     
 
The Pirates of Penzance is a strong show -- strong enough even to withstand Joseph Papp's 1980s Broadway "update" with pop singer Linda Ronstadt (later made into a film) -- but it gives the most powerfully delightful impression when it's performed to the manner born, as it is in this classic 1968 set. Considered by many Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados to be

Overview

The Pirates of Penzance is a strong show -- strong enough even to withstand Joseph Papp's 1980s Broadway "update" with pop singer Linda Ronstadt (later made into a film) -- but it gives the most powerfully delightful impression when it's performed to the manner born, as it is in this classic 1968 set. Considered by many Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados to be among the greatest of all the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's recordings, it has been newly remastered for this reissue and sounds more vivid than ever. Of course, no one sang Major General Stanley's famous patter song ("I am the very model of a modern Major-General") as delectably as John Reed, and here he's partnered by an exceptionally able and well-rounded cast, including Owen Brannigan as the Sergeant of Police. Isidore Godfrey, an experienced and inspirational Savoyard, leads the Royal Philharmonic with a sure, comedic hand, and the score is performed complete with dialogue. Could there be a better introduction to the wonderfully "topsy-turvy" world of Gilbert and Sullivan than this?

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Patsy Morita
This is a reissue of a very well-performed and fun-filled recording from 1968 by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which includes the dialog. The cast and chorus bring out the humor of the operetta by taking their parts seriously. The dialog is not delivered with the singsong, exaggerated sentiment found in some of the other D'Oyly Carte recordings. The stars of the performance are Valerie Masterson, who has no difficulty handling the coloratura flights in "Poor Wand'ring One," and John Reed as the Major-General, who recites his model characteristics with aplomb and not so speedily as to turn it into nonsense. Philip Potter as Frederic, Donald Adams as the Pirate King, and Christene Palmer as Ruth round out the cast. This is the last recording conductor Isidore Godfrey made with the company, retiring shortly afterward, having been its music director for 39 years. He makes "Pirates" sound more like grand opera than light opera. One minor regret is that in transferring the recording, it was not possible to get all of Act 1 on one CD. This means, since the dialog is on the same track as the immediately preceding musical number, the first CD ends rather surprisingly after the orphan/often misunderstanding between the Major-General and the Pirate King. This recording, along with the 1959 "H.M.S. Pinafore," represents the best stereo recordings made by the company that premiered the works in the nineteenth century.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/13/2003
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028947365020
catalogNumber:
000018702
Rank:
17610

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. The Pirates of Penzance, operetta  - Arthur Sullivan  - Donald Adams  - Owen Brannigan  -  D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus  - Valerie Masterson  - John Reed  -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  - James Walker  - Jean Allister  -  George Cook  - Isidore Godfrey  - Susan Maisey  - Christene Palmer  - Philip Potter  - Pauline Wales

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