Not the best sung but among the best in characterization
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 07/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Between 1949 and 1951, the D'Oyly Carte Company was very busy recording nine of the Gilbert & Sullivan works onto mono LPs for the Decca label (or the London, as it was known over here), with comic lead Martyn Green in all but "Trial By Jury." After he left the company, Green was supplanted by Peter Pratt, who recorded the comic lead roles in "The Sorcerer" and "Princess Ida." All of these have waited a long time to appear on CDs and several companies have taken advantage of the copyright lapse to issue them at very high prices and at least one at very budget ones.
But now I find that all of the 1949-1951 sets are available on the Avid Entertainment label as a boxed set of 10 discs (AMSC 780-789). To keep things compact, the Avid people unavoidably had to place on the same disc Act I of one opera after Act II of the one before. There is also orchestral bonus material towards the end including orchestral selections from "Pinafore" and "Yeomen of the Guard," Sullivan's salute to the dance "Overture Di Ballo," and the entire score of the G&S-based ballet "Pineapple Poll."
Green is good and even better are the bottomless basso of Richard Watson, the most famous Mikado of them all Darrell Fancourt, and the sympathetic contralto of Ella Halman. Only tenor Leonard Osborne does not come over very well on recordings, although he was very good on stage. No true "Savoyard" will want to be without this collection.
Those who are perfectly happy with less will want "Gilbert & Sullivan: Highlights and Overtures" (AMSC 800), a double-CD set in which there are 27 selections from the complete recordings and the 9 overtures, plus "Overture Di Ballo." A great starter kit to introduce newcomers to the magic of the G&S team.
Best; done by the original company!
H. W. Dixon | Pensacola, Fl. | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Absolutely the best versions of Gilbert & Sullivan, because it is by the original company, D'Orly Carte. And the tempo is a bit slower on the ones I have listened to,(compared to later versions) which is great, because the lyrics are easier to understand. Well worth the price!"