Search - Donald Maxwell, Arthur Sullivan, John Owen Edwards :: Gilbert & Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard/Laughing Boy/A Jealous Torment/Is Life a Boon?

Gilbert & Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard/Laughing Boy/A Jealous Torment/Is Life a Boon?
Donald Maxwell, Arthur Sullivan, John Owen Edwards
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Yeomen of the Guard/Laughing Boy/A Jealous Torment/Is Life a Boon?
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2


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Great! | Melbourne, Australia | 04/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I wouldn't have thought it possible but the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company have managed to surpass their exemplary 1964 recording of "The Yeomen of the Guard" with this stunning effort. Beautiful conducting by John Owens Edwards - dare I say it, he leaves both Sargent and Marriner for dead! - cap off a well cast ensemble. This is an opera which strives very hard for heart throbs but rarely delivers. Here we have a deeply moving reading of the score, which may well be Sullivan's masterpiece. Compulsory listening for all Savoyards."
O.K. but...
Paul A. Gerard | Australia | 05/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Yeomen" is the most "serious" of all the G&S operettas, especially from Gilbert's point of view - Sullivan goaded him into a plot without "topsy-turveydom" and the result is a story that is positively sensible, not just by G&S standards, but also compared with other operettas, (and operas, for that matter).

In particular, the characters in "Yeomen" are real people, rather than the two-dimensional characters of the other operettas. Point is the obvious case, and reviews of performances of the work often dwell on how well Point is (or is not) played. Shadbolt is another character that can be interpreted at least two ways - he is inescapably an oaf and a buffoon, of course, but he can be played as a reasonably young and personable one, which is at the very least as funny as making him old, repulsive and deformed, and much more believable. Giving him a "comic" accent hints at the "quasimodo" approach to the character, and a bit regressive.

This is no doubt a fine technical performance, but at it is less dramatically satisfying than my slightly older (Welsh National Opera) version. Of course I have listened to the latter about a million times, and I do have to give this new one a chance, but I must admit to just a little disappointment.

The "extra" material is certainly interesting. "A laughing boy" is in fact quite often included in modern performances - it is a nice little song, which develops Sergeant Merrill's character, even if it was originally inserted to cover a costume change. "A Jealous Torment" is probably, on balance, best left out - although I had never heard it sung before - and it is far from irrelevant to the plot - giving emphasis to Shadbolt's obsession with Phoebe. The earlier version of "Is life a boon?" is in fact a completely different setting, and in itself quite a pleasant one - although one comes to the conclusion fairly quickly that the final version, one of Sullivan's greatest songs, is much better, bringing out the nobility of the words far more effectively.

But why are all three on Disc 2, where it is impossible to program them into their intended places without burning a fresh Act 1 CD (as I have done) ? There would have been plenty of room for them on Disc 1."
Adequate - Enjoyable
Voice Lover | Durham, NC | 04/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Make no mistake, this is an excellent recording of this wonderful operetta. However, there is a tendency these days to rate recordings higher than they deserve - probably because they are new & fresh. And for some reason those who do so often ignore the quality of the voices in the recordings. The singing in this recording is very good and the characterizations are fine. But to suggest that it is comparable in quality to the superb 1964 D'Oyly Carte recording under Sir Malcolm Sargent is an error.

The voices in the 1964 recording - Harwood, Hood, Knight, Potter, Reed, Sandford, Adams - are perhaps the best ever to sing this music and Sargent was one of the greatest of G&S conductors. I would rate the current recording as perhaps the 3rd or 4th best of those available. In addition to the 1964 recording, consider the Marriner which is also excellently sung and also includes the dialogue."