This stereo recording of Iolanthe dates from September 1960, wonderfully remastered by Decca for this CD release. The Doly-Carte Opera company were at the peak of their post war powers and how it shows on this recording! Principals, chorus, orchestera etc are clearly having a ball with this recording and enjoying every moment of it. Special mention should be made of the Orchestra, far larger than the travelling pit orchestra the Doly-Carte used to provide. I cannot pull out just one star of the cast - they are all just perfect,but special tribute should be made to the conductor, Isadore Godfrey. Godfrey was MD of the Doly-Carte for nearly 40 years and brought superb musicianship, experience and sheer love of Sullivan's music to everything he did - this shines through on the recording, over and over again, from the opening bars of the overture, the entry of the peers, the wonderful finale to Act 1 etc. Sullivan himself would not have conducted this music any better or brought such life and vitality to it.
It is over 50 years since this recording was made, it has never been bettered, even the sound, whilst clearly is not modern digital, it still first class. Like the other Doly-Carte/Godfrey recordings they are still the finest ever comitted to disc and have never been out of the catologue. Other versions are available, such as the Sargent series on HMV, which are particualaly lifeless and dull- so don't bother with them. So if you want a recording of Iolanthe, this is this the one. Don't hesitate.