- The Sorcerer, operetta
"The Sorcerer" is not one of Gilbert and Sullivan's more popular operettas for a number of reasons. A large reason is that it sounds formulaic -- even though it's one of their early collaborations -- and less cleverly inspired than their greater successes. For the most part, the characters don't have much character to them, so to speak, or at least in this production by the Ohio Light Opera, they don't. The cast and orchestra are musically very good, but this is a conservative production. Everyone is careful to get the right notes and make sure all the words are understandable. It's not that the overture, patter song, and other songs are slow or indifferent, it's just that the energy isn't infectious or the feeling as merry as is usually expected in one of their productions. Ted Christopher, as John Wellington Wells, puts the most personality into his role of the magician-charlatan. He and Sandra Ross, Lady Sangazure, are veterans of these operettas, and they add to the humor of Gilbert's lyrics of their duet, "Oh I have wrought," through their acting. The performance is done in good spirit, but without high spirits. This recording does mark a milestone in the history of the work by being the first recording to include the dialogue, not just the music. It also includes the complete libretto, so that following along with the confused relationships is no problem. The sound is decent, although there are some rough track changes in the middle of words or notes, and it does move from left to right as actors move on the stage. The double disc set is odd in that the finale of Act 1 is on the second disc, even though it would have fit perfectly well on the first. Even if the Ohio Light Opera's performance doesn't exactly sell the listener on "The Sorcerer," it is a still a musically solid one, doing justice to the work.