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OPERAS OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN
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ST DAVID’S PLAYERS
Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon
Avid boxed set of the DECCA First Series
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Reviews currently included here have been posted by contributor, Ian Bond, and are his personal views, and these may not necessarily represent the views of St David’s Players
This is a box set of the major portion of the DECCA First Series of D’Oyly Carte recordings plus a few interesting extras. The set was first issued in 2004 and as such the company were unable to include both The Sorcerer and Princess Ida. Otherwise all the First Series recordings are here.
To start on the plus side - the digital transfer of these recordings is exceptionally good - second only to Chris Websters ‘Sounds on CD’ series. Each of the 10 discs is contained within it’s own, colourful, pictorial sleeve, and there is an excellent booklet with well researched notes.
What is disappointing is the layout. The operas are not presented in chronological order and some of the disc breaks are really annoying.
It all starts well enough with the whole of Pinafore on disc 1 and Ruddigore on disc 2. However Patience on disc 3 also accommodates the overture to Mikado with the rest of the opera on disc 4. Disc 5 is fairly logical as it accommodates Trial and Act 1 of Pirates, but disc 6 then has Pirates Act 2 and the first act of Iolanthe breaking just before the Act 1 Finale. Disc 7 completes Iolanthe and then has the overture and first number of Gondoliers, disc 8 accommodating the rest of Gondoliers. Disc 9 has the whole of Yeomen with the exception of the Act 2 Finale.
A possible bonus however is the inclusion on disc 10 after the Yeomen finale of orchestral excerpts from Pinafore and Yeomen conducted by Stanford Robinson, a performance of the Overture di Ballo conducted by George Weldon, and the first recording, from 1951, of the complete Ballet, (not the suite as stated in the notes), Pineapple Poll, conducted by the arranger, Charles Mackerras.
The set is generally available in music stores and via the internet - catalogue number AMBX 138 approximate retail price £19.99