Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arthur Sullivan, Isidore Godfrey, New Promenade Orchestra|
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado (1950 D'Oyly Carte Recording) - Godfrey; Green; Fancourt; New Promenade Orchestra
Genres: Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Available again at last!
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 09/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At last count, Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Mikado" has been given a complete recording 11 times: an acoustic version back in 1917, two electric recordings in 1926 and 1936, a mono LP in 1950, and the rest are all in stereo, all but one now available on CDs. Only one contains the dialogue, but alas it is too amateurishly produced to be of any further value. The 1936 electric set on eleven 12" 78s might have qualified as being the best of the lot, were it not for a weak contralto as Katisha. Therefore I would have to call the 1950 set pretty close to top place. Now tenor Leonard Osborn never failed to please when he appeared on stage, but his nasal voice did not sit too well on recordings, especially to those of us used to the creamy tenor of Derek Oldham, who had appeared on most of the acoustic and electric sets. However, we now have as part of the Naxos "Great Operetta Recordings" series that very 1950 recording and what a wonder it is in all other respects. We have the greatest Mikado of them all in Darrell Fancourt, and the most famous Ko-Ko in Martyn Green. The Katisha is contralto Ella Hallman, whose vocal abilities are matched by her acting, while the Pooh-Bah, for once on any recording, is a fabulous basso-profundo named Richard Watson. It would be difficult to better the Three Little Maids: Margaret Mitchell (Yum-Yum), Joan Gillingham (Pitti-Sing), and Joyce Wright (Peep-Bo). Alan Styler's Pish-Tush is stylish and clear as a bell. And need we say that the D'Oyly Carte chorus is deep in the tradition set by the masters about 75 years earlier. I can find no fault in the tempos chosen by conductor Isidore Godfrey. Finally at the Naxos budget price, this is the buy of the season--until the next D'Oyly Carte set is issued. And, Naxos, please let us have them with as short a waiting time between releases as possible."
Not done justice
Robert Ray | Sassafras, Victoria Australia | 07/09/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This was my first "Mikado" heard at age 12 in 1959. In many ways this is my favourite. Why? Well the best ever KoKo in Martyn Green, and the best ever Mikado in Darryll Fancourt. Add to that the pretty well faultless YumYum of Margaret Mitchell and the even handsome-on-record Leonard Osborn. The conducting by Isidore Godfrey is definitive. But this transfer by Naxos is appalling. They make it sound like it was recorded in the 20's. I played the CD's side by side with the vinyl and it's hard to believe they are the same recording. There is a much better tranfser available from Sounds on CD in the UK. Why doesn't Amazon have that one on offer also?"
Super 1950 Mikado Revived--A Best Buy!
Larry Cantrell | Vancouver, BC | 12/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I heartily endorse the words of the learned Mr. Behrens.The 1950s FFRR mono sound was excellent for its time and not bad for ours.Naxos has done its ususal wretched job in botching the supporting documentation. What little there is contains gross errors. Word on the G&S internet sites is that the identified Pish-Tush sings only "Our Great Mikado" in the first act. Apparently there was a Go-To (an optional singer used when a light baritone Pish-Tush cannot navigate the bass line of the second act madrigal) whose name is not even listed. (Even more esoterically, the sites say there was yet another unidentified Go-To on this recording--in "I am so Proud"--thus divding the role of Pish-Tush among three people!)All that as it may be. This is a wonderful performance of the best of the G&S lot. I gave it a mere four stars only to protect those delicate souls whose ears cannot bear anything but DDD recordings. For you hardier individuals out there, get this one. It's a winner!"