Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gilbert & Sullivan, D'Oyly Carte Opera Company|
Mikado / The Sorcerer
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
One of the best Gilbert and Sullivan recordings ever!
Dafydd Mac an Leigh | Waltham, MA USA | 05/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1926 Mikado is, historically, one of the most important records to G&S history. This was the first electrical Savoyard recording, and features several people personally familiar with the authors and thier designs on their most popular opera. The chorus is very clean, with better balance than on many modern recordings. The principal singing is terrific, from Elsie Griffin's sweet and capable Yum-Yum to Darrell Fancourt, inventor of the Mikado's blood-curdling laughs in "My Object All Sublime". Bertha Lewis is a mighty powerful Katasha, and Leo Sheffield's effortlessly condescending Pooh-Bah proves a worthy successor to Rutland Barrington, the original. (Both Lewis and Sheffield, incidentally, had joined the D'Oyly Carte Company early enough in the century to have learned their parts from Gilbert himself.) But the undeniable star is the Ko-Ko of Sir Henry Lytton, the last remaining Savoyard who worked under both authors. Though already about sixty, his wit and nuance are still apparent - and wonderful. The recording was directed and supervised by the hand-picked successors to Gilbert and D'Oyly Carte, and every effort was made to preserve the authors' original intentions, making this the closest to what Gilbert and Sullivan had in mind as we're likely to get. The accompanying Sorcerer Highlights - the complete score not recorded until the fifties - makes a nice companion piece, showing how underrated an opera it really is. Pearl's restoration is clean, brilliant, and gives minimal record-crackle. Don't fear this record because of it's age - the perfomance, like the opera is timeless."
Lytton a time capsule
Peter Kline | Silver Spring, MD | 11/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sir Henry Lytton joined the D'Oyly Carte company with his wife as a chorus member in the original production of Princess Ida. In Ruddigore he skyrocketted to the top two weeks after the opening to take the part of Robin Oakapple when Grossmith fell sick. There can be no question that when we listen to him and his companions on this recording that we are hearing the style that Gilbert and Sullivan invented and wanted. It's one of the great losses to history that Lytton recorded only four G&S roles. But what we have shows how spontaneous and deeply charactered performances were earlier in the last century. True, musical values were often sacrificed to dramatic and comic ones, but if you want the spirit of G & S as it was originally conceived, you'll find more of it here than on any recording in stereo. This is true of George Baker in The Sorcerer as well. He's at the opposite extreme interpretively from Lytton, but, though he was never a member of the company he knew the style very well, and had one of the longest recording careers in history, ranging from accoustical recordings to stereo. Melt Lytton and Baker together and take off the scum and the G&S style is the residuum."
A more perfect Mikado never did in the world exist
Andrew Greene | Sydney, NSW Australia | 12/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant performance not only from the pre-stereo era, but of all time. For those who really cannot abide CDs transferred from 78s, then I would recommend Mackerras' recording with the Welsh National Opera but for sheer brio, this has a class all of its own. Bertha Lewis' performance of Katisha is not only an object lesson in clarity of diction but a superb testiment to one of the great contralto voices of the twentieth century who is sadly overlooked as she specialised only in this repertoire. Nevertheless her performance can strongly be recommended to classical vocal students for showing how 'light' music can be executed with great vocal quality. Leo Sheffield, incredibly light-toned as Pooh Bah, gives a rendition brimming with humour (what musical liberties he gets away with!). It's not hard to understand why HMV dispensed with the services of Henry Lytton in favour of George Baker as it is definately not a pretty sound, but stick with it as Lytton's artistry does shine through. Baker has his moment as Pish Tush and is a splendid Wellington Wells in the accompanying Sorcerer. Harry Norris as the maestro starts the proceedings in a somewhat stately manner but by a quarter of the way in, things are moving along nicely. The recording is accompanied by a shortened Sorcerer which manages to give much of the piece in the remainder of the second CD and is a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Once you can open your ears and bypass Pearl's "frying tonight" sound quality, an extremely delightful experience awaits!"