University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - The (Very) Best of Gilbert and Sullivan

07/29/2012 1:00 pm
07/29/2012 4:30 pm

Host Keith Brown writes:

The comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan always figure in the Summertime programming mix. Usually I present an entire operatic work from the G & S canon. This time I draw upon a two-CD Decca compilation, issued in 2011, that allows us to survey the whole canon, as it was recorded in stereo sound between 1960 and 1973.

The Very Best of Gilbert and Sullivan offers a generous sampling from eleven of the great lyric comedies we know and love. The performers are the original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and chorus (not the New D'Oyly Carte company formed in 1988). From 1948 onwards the original company was overseen by founder Richard D'Oyly Carte's granddaughter Bridget, who held the troupe to the highest artistic standards.

Conductors Royston Nash, Isadore Godfrey and Sir Malcolm Sargent expertly handled Sullivan's orchestral scores, as realized in the pit by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Symphony Orchestra of London, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Many illustrious Savoyards are heard in these classic recordings: John Reed, Mary Sansome, Kenneth Sandford, Valerie Masterson, just to name just a few.

I'll throw in a few surprises from other recordings of Sullivan's lesser known lyric theater music.