D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore [1959]

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This 1959 D'Oyly Carte Opera Company stereo recording is the first with John Reed, who plays the Right Honourable Joseph Porter, K.C.G. with the straightforwardness appropriate to the importance of the ruler of the Queen's Navy. It is also the first the company recorded with complete dialog included, as performed on-stage, which actually gives you a fuller picture of the characterizations. (If you only want to hear the music, you're out of luck: the dialog is always on the track with the music that precedes it.) Gillian Knight is Buttercup, Jean Hindmarsh is Josephine, Thomas Round is Ralph, and Jeffrey Skitch is Captain Corcoran. Dick Deadeye, sung by Donald Adams, is decidedly (and delightfully) more pirate than royal navy. This skilled, veteran cast and the New Symphony Orchestra of London are all conducted by Isidore Godfrey, the company's longtime music director. The excellent performance certainly reflects the English essence of the work. As for the sound quality, it is also very good. Despite Pinafore's being recorded as it was performed on-stage (without audience), there seem to have been enough microphones to pick up all the voices, all the time. Overall, this is one of the best recordings of H.M.S. Pinafore, and certainly one of the best stereo recordings made by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

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