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Gilbert & Sullivan: The Gondoliers
Richard Suart, Arthur Sullivan, John Pryce-Jones
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Gondoliers
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #2


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The best choice so far
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 07/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are two strong rivals for this set. The early electric set transferred from 78 rpms onto Pearl CDs is suberb--the closest we will ever get to what Gilbert wanted in articulation and characterization and to what Sullivan wanted in vocal style--but is of course subjected to the sonics state of the art circa 1930. But to understand what this opera is all about, this is the choice of choices! The complete version on Decca has all the dialogue...which might or might not be a Good Thing on repeated hearings. And, no, you cannot program it out since Decca decided to contain it on the same tracks as the music that precedes it. So if all you want is the musical parts and stereo is a must, this Sony/Columbia set is wonderfully paced, well characterized (though not as well as the early electric set) and well conducted. And in case you do not know, this work is even more tuneful than "The Mikado"--which is saying a lot. And by the way, try the "Iolanthe" in this same series, but not "The Mikado" (which is far too rushed)."
Definitive | Melbourne, Australia | 07/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sullivan's score to The Gondoliers has been the object of a good deal of tampering over the years, and as is the case with all of the D'Oyly Carte's more recent efforts, an attempt has been made to return to the autograph. What we hear in this set is Sullivan's original introduction, minus the cachuca which was tacked on in the 1930s. The original is vastly more effective. There are other points of interest, such as the almost supernaturally crisp chorus - sample them in the "Thank you gallant gondolieri" in the first act. The cast is, as usual with D'Oyly Carte, first rate, with John Rath and Jill Pert standouts. Rarely have I heard Don Alhambra's arias sung with such panache. Rath even gives Donals Adams and Darrell Fancourt a run for their money.Well worth the investment, even if you have the excellent 1960 recording."
Good later G&S
D. W. Casey | Sturbridge, MA United States | 01/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Gondoliers was the last Gilbert and Sullivan opera to be a great popular success; listening to this version of the opera as performed by the D'Oyly Carte shows why: it is a highly entertaining score, with warm characters and a lot of humor. This CD contains excellent performances by John Rath as Don Alhambra, Jill Pert as the Duchess of Plaza-Toto and the usual fine comic performance by Richard Suart as the Duke of Plaza-Toro. The score is particularly fine, with Sullivan showing his mastery of many musical types, as the liner notes indicate, such as the waltz, the gavotte, the saltarello and the tarantello. It is a very vibrant and upbeat score. The libretto is very clever, and Gilbert's sense of satire is never sharper than here. There are amusing songs as the democratic Gondoliers make Barataria into a model of social equality, and the Duke and Duchess relate the story of their product endorsements -- like the Mikado, all the satires are really about Victorian England, not about the land in which the stories are staged. The story's plot relies on a typical Gilbert device -- babies "switched at birth" make one of the two Gondoliers -- no one is sure which one -- the rightful King of Barataria, promised to the Duke's daughter, Casilda. This interferes with the Gondoliers' plan to marry their sweethearts, and provides much of the humor as the Gondoliers attempt to adjust to their new social position. There is, of course, the usual Gilbertian plot twist at the end to resolve everything happily. This is a very fun opera to listen to; with almost none of the wistfulness that haunts the Mikado, Pinafore, or the Yeomen of the Guard."