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Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore / Mackerras, Welsh National Opera
Arthur Sullivan, Sir Charles Mackerras, Richard Suart
Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore / Mackerras, Welsh National Opera
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (27) - Disc #1

Pinafore is a hit that never fails in production, and that gets performed everywhere, from elementary schools with piano accompaniment to full-scale extravaganzas in major opera houses and theaters. In fact I would go so f...  more »


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Pinafore is a hit that never fails in production, and that gets performed everywhere, from elementary schools with piano accompaniment to full-scale extravaganzas in major opera houses and theaters. In fact I would go so far as to say that rarely in the history of music has there been a happier marriage of words and music than Gilbert and Sullivan, and this piece is one of their best. --David Hurwitz

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The perfect PINAFORE! Rebecca Evans shines!
Sean | LOOK | 07/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Musically, you could not ask for a better PINAFORE.The cast is superb! Donald Adams is a topnotch, menacing Dick Deadeye. Felicity Palmer has a full, round, dark sound and tackles Little Buttercup with what seems to be ease, and sings every note, showing off the expansive range required for the role. Richard Van Allan (whose voice I usually find to be quite heavy) as the Boatswain's mate, sings fully, and does a great rendition of "For He is an Englishman." Richard Stuart as the Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., the "ruler of the Queen's Navee," is deadpan and understated in his comic delivery. Thomas Allen delivers Captain Corcoran's entrance number ("I am the Captain of the Pinafore") in good voice, and with sly timing. He performs equally well for the rest of the album, also being of very good voice in his "Fair Moon" song. Michael Schade has a very dark, beautiful sound for a tenor, and is quite delightful on "A Maiden Fair to See," and sings his "Nightingale" madrigal quite handsomely. And John King and Phillip Lloyd Evans (both as the Carpenter's mate) and Valerie Seymour (as Cousin Hebe) are all as vocally strong as the remainder of the cast, and deliver stellar performances.But the true star of this album (at least for me) is Rebecca Evans as Josephine. She sings "Sorry Her Lot" quietly, plaintively, and has excellent control at the end with the notes building to the beautiful close. She is also very dramatic with her sound, as is quite apparent on my FAVORITE track on this album: her dramatic, operatic scena "The Hours Creep on Apace." She approaches each note with such force, an example is her singing on the phrase "my GUIL-ty heart is quaking." Most sopranos who essay this role (even the D'Oyly Carte Grande Dame Valerie Masterson), back off and/or falter out on "guilty," but Evans plows right into it, and sings it beautifully with full force. She builds and builds to a dramatic climax in this song, and it pays off. Her rendition is nothing less than awesome. Evans singing with Schade in the "I/He humble, poor, and lowly born" section of the Act Two Finaletto, builds and builds up to "he is an Englishman--behold me/him!", where it finally releases, and allows Van Allan to let loose the "He is an Englishman" theme. It is one of the album's most breath-taking moments.Mackerras leads the orchestra through all of the songs quite well, with everything at a nice, brisk tempo when it needs to be, but never too fast. And the Overture seems to be more perfect here than anywhere else on disc (the drum-roll and the percussion beat alone at the top of it are enough of an example of that). The exciting highlights of the disc for me are the Act One finale (track 17) and just about everything in Act Two, but especially the Finaletto of "Carefully on tip-toe stealing/He is an Englishman" and Josephine's scena. In fact, Act Two is a non-stop run of musical "hits" in a row: "Things are seldom what they seem," "The hours creep on apace," "Never mind the why and wherefore" (in a high energy reading here that leaves me breathless every time); ""Kind Captain, I've important information" (sung menacingly and with gusto by Adams and Allen); and then through to the finale. And the musical counterpoints and harmony on "O joy, o rapture unforseen!" can be clearly heard on this album, and it is indeed a joy!This album is *NOT* to be avoided--BUY! BUY! BUY!"
Mackerras's new coat of paint
Yi-Peng | Singapore | 01/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This third entry in the Mackerras/Telarc series enables the feeling of a new coat of paint on the hull of the indelible and delectable H.M.S. Pinafore. Indeed, Mackerras gives the piece an added sheen and an added sparkle that seems to be lacking in other recordings, even D'Oyly Carte's latest TER recording. Of the first-rate star-studded cast, Richard Suart makes a delightful, dry-timbred Ruler of the Queen's Navee, He has a remarkable facility for relishing the role, and it might be safe to say that he manages to give John Reed a run for his money. Equally fine is Thomas Allen's polished Captain. His singing really has a sense of conviction to do everyone, even his crew, proud. In the romantic rolse, Michal Schade's heady-tones portrayal of Ralph Rackstraw shows his determination to win the hand of Josephine, who is nicely, romantically and sweetly characterised by Rebeca Evans. Oh. I almost forgot to mention how delightful Felicity Palmer's Little Buttercup sounds. There is certainly something rosy about her portrayal to make her sound fruity and good. In the minor cast, I should talk about Donald Adams' villainous Deadeye. Thirty-four years after contributing positively to Decca's Godfrey D'Oyly Carte set, he still has never lost touch. What, never? Well - hardly ever! And he manages to still underpin the villainy in the character so vividly, even without dialogue this time around. And Richard van Allan makes a superb Boatswain, in a role that is specially suited to him. The choral contributions are first-rate, the orchestral playing delectable, and Mackerras conducts the music with more style and wit than Godfrey, with perfectly-judged tempi. The crystal-clear and atmospheric Telarc recording caps off a delightful rendering of the opera and makes this recording, or rather ALL the Telarc Mackerras G&S recordings, set to eclipse all others, even D'Oyly Carte's."
A joy to listen to!
Matthew Soane | United Kingdom | 09/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This sparkling rendition of HMS Pinafore really is a joy to listen to. Mackerras and the Welsh National Opera bring a freshness to the piece that is lacking in other more stylised recordings. Lyrics and music are well balanced and the orchestra and performers bring some musical clout to one or two of the more serious numbers, but without losing the overall sense of fun and lightheartedness of the rest of the piece. The rendition of the lyrics and music is so fresh that it is hard to believe that this was written over a century ago - you sense you can hear the beginnings of the modern musical. Mackerras is also particularly good at judging the tempo of each number. Among the main soloists there is not a weak link, with some beautiful singing and great characterisation. One final point: there is no dialogue - this is probably a plus as I find that G&S (and other) show dialogues rarely sound good in recordings. I would recommend this as an excellent introduction to G&S."