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4.3 out of 5 stars7
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on March 7, 2001
This budget-priced abridgement of D'Oyly Carte's incomporable 1968 PIRATES is a reasonably good way for beginners to get started on the opera itself. The D'Oyly Carte's performance is top-notch and beyond reproach and Isidore Godfrey elicits delicate playing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The 62-minute playing time gives exceptionl value for money, even though there are scenes I feel should hae been omitted such as Frederic's "Oh is there not one maiden breast" that hold up the action. It would have been ince to include the Act One finale because it reveals what is to come in the second act. To round off, some people think that this performance of PIRATES is far too operatic, but this is Sullivan's original arrangement and not others' work.
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on February 6, 2004
Gilbert And Sullivan. Eternal names in the musical theatre scene. They were the 19th century British version of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe. And this was long before Broadway, when the Savoy was the vogue of musical comedy and the Savoyards were highly popular entertainers. William S. Gilbert provided the libretti and lyrics to the operettas, while Arthur Sullivan, who was a serious music composer in his own right, provided the music. The operettas or light operas they wrote were mostly up-beat social satires dressed up as comedy, very theatrical, historical, inventive, and very patriotic to Brittain. Their works borrowed the opera technique- choruses, arias, ensembles, but as far as plot and content their only serious work was The Yeomen Of The Guard. Other Gilbert And Sullivan hits include Trial By Jury, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, Princess Ida and The Gondoliers. Gilbert And Sullivan's manager/impresario was Richard D'Oyly Carte.
This recording is only highlights from a 1968 recording (also available on Amazon.com) with the D'Oyly Carte Opera, conductor Isidore Godfrey directs the Royal Philharmonic. In the role of Frederick, lyric tenor Phillip Potter, in the role of Mabel, soprano Valerie Masterson, John Reed as Major General Stanley, Donald Adams as The Pirate King,Owen Brannigan as the Sergeant Of Police, and mezzo soprano Christine Palmer as Nurse Ruth. These singers were at their vocal peaks, and they provide much comedic acting as well. Impressive scenes include the mezzo soprano vocals of Christine Palmer's Ruth as she describes how she mistook "Pilot" for "Pirate" when nursing Frederick (When Frederick Was A Little Lad"), Frederick's plea to the daughters of the Major General to accept him as husband (O Is There Not One Maiden Breast) Valerie Masterson, whose Mabel is the best, singing the coloratura showcase "Poor Wondering One" and her duet in "Stay Frederick Stay" John Reed singing "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" is hilarious and a display of virtuosity for this type of singing. The beautiful chorus "O Dry The Glistening Tear" the upbeat "With Cat Like Tread" and the finale are exceptional.
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on February 3, 2004
This cd contains only highlights and excerpts from the 1968 recording by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. For a full recording, check it out on the Amazon.com catalog under Gilbert and Sullivan Pirates Of Penzance D'Oyl Carte Opera. This company was founded by the original impresario and manager of the Gilbert and Sullivan productions in the late 19th century, Richard D'Oyly Carte. Arthur Sullivan, who was a well-known composer, provided the music and William Gilbert wrote the libretti. Their partnership was a match made in heaven, as evident in the success of their many operettas, beginning with the smash hit "Trial By Jury" and even on to the more serious opera "The Yeomen Of The Guard". Nevertheless, Gilbert and Sullivan had different temperaments and did'nt always get along very well. They split up sometime in the 1890's. Other famous light operas of theirs include The H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, Iolanthe, Princess Ida and The Gondoliers. Light opera or operetta was the vogue of the day, especially popular in the Savoy Theatre in London. Although it was not opera, it borrowed much of the opera techniques- namely arias and chorus. The entertainment of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas were very much like Broadway musicals. In fact, one could make the argument that the Savoy was the Broadway long before American Broadway theatre and Gilbert and Sullivan were like an early British form of Rodgers and Hammersteins or Lerner and Loewe.
The Pirate Of Penzance is a beautiful work of art. The sugary and sentimental story is about the exoneration of pirates, who are noble men who have "gone astray" by such authorities as the Major General,his daughters and the Sergeant of Police. Through the course of the opera, Frederick, who was nursed by Ruth and reared by the Pirate King and his roguish band of pirates. When the daughters of Major General Stanley reject his proposals of love, only Mabel consents to love him. But there's a catch. Frederick is in the hands of the pirates until he comes of age but he was born on a leap year and not until 1940 will he be released. The ending is happy and finds the pirates forgivened by the authorities and Mabel and Frederick are happily married.
The singers really deliver a great performance. In the role of the Major General Stanley is John Reed, who by the time of this recording was a veteran singer in the company. He comes off as fatherly, authoritive but cheerful. An especially skilled type of singer is needed for the master song "I am the Very Model Of A Modern Major General". In contrast, a lyric tenderness is required in the final song "Sighing Softly To The River". As mentioned, a lot of this light opera shines with chorus. The excellent choruses include the opening chorus "Pour The Pirate Sherry", "Oh Dry The Glistening Tear"- this one in particular is set to beautiful music and the daughters of the Major General sound heavenly when they sing in chorus, expressive also in their chorus when Frederick sings "O, Is There Not One Maiden Breast ?". Frederick is sung by Phillip Potter, whose tenor voice is lyric and romantic, and it sounds gorgeous when in duet with Valerie Masterson's Mabel, as in the duet that follows "Stay Frederick Stay". Valerie Masterson was the principal soprano of the company and performed in various other lead roles such as Princess Yum-Yum in The Mikado. A well-schooled lyric and coloratura diva, Valerie Masterson extended her repertoire into Broadway and opera- she has sung Violetta Valery of Verdi's La Traviata (in both Italian and in English versions), Adele in Die Fledermaus and even a part in an English version of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung. Valerie has recordings out in stock and available in Amazon.com.
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on July 31, 1999
I can't say I was overly impressed with this CD. Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" is one of my favorite operettas, but I hardly recognized the selections on this disc. It seemed to be arranged as a serious, classical opera rather than a happy, G&S-type operetta. While technically correct, the selections seemed to lack a spirit of "joie de vivre" as though the company was tired after lunch. The gentleman who sang "I am the very model of a modern major general" sounded like he was up for retirement and was hard put to keep up with the music. The sound also was not of the greatest quality --it seemed to be recorded on the stage with distant mikes, rather than in a studio as it should have been. I have to say I was somewhat disappointed in this selection, but then, the price was cheap.
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on August 17, 2006
While the music that is on the CD is good, a several numbers are missing! It's not the full operetta
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on December 26, 2003
For a very reasonable, inexpensive price (around 8 dollars) this cd is a must have for those who have recently taken up an interest in Gilbert and Sullivan. Gilbert and Sullivan were a team of composer and librettist, both Englishmen, from the late 19th century who composed operettas written in the English language and in the spirit of popular folk song of the Victorian period (roughly 1870's, 1880's and 1890's ) The light operas were equally as light in plot and mood- they were cheery, uncomplicated stories, a lot of them set on a naval vessel out at sea. They poked fun at the Victorian way of life, in much the same vein that Offenbach satirized the French of his day during the Second Empire (1860's). Gilbert and Sullivan composed many operettas that still remain popular today, especially The Mikado, The H.M.S. Pinafore and in this case The Pirates Of Penzance. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company specialized exclusively in the art of Gilbert and Sullivan and have long been regarded as the finest interpreters of the style. In the 50's and 60's they performed live and made a variety of recordings, employing the talents of many outstanding English singers- among them lyric soprano Valerie Masterson.
In The Pirates Of Penzance, Mabel and Frederick are temporarily seperated lovers when Frederick is accused of a crime he did not commit. The plot involves pirates, among them the bass-baritone Pirate King. Light-hearted, bouncy tunes abound in what is considered the direct ancestor to Broadway musicals. The Overture makes use of the chorus "With Cat Like Tread" a march-like, jovial piece of music. The Highlights on this cd include "Pour O Pour The Pirate Sherry", "When Frederick Was A Lad", " Poor Wondering One", "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" and the uplifting finale. Valerie Masterson plays the role of Mabel. Her voice is fresh, agile, lyric and she has excellent command of coloratura when warranted, as she sings in "Poor Wondering One". This 1968 recording is in its entirety on the same label with the same singers on a different cd recording.
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on April 5, 2010
The product was exactly as described and was packaged and delivered in a professional way. Thank you!
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