on 18 March 2005
I've owned this recording on vinyl for 30 years & recently acquired it on cd.
G+S can be performed in many ways & the D'Oyly Carte recordings often fall short of the perfection which they ought to achieve - but not in this case. In my opinion, this is the finest D'Oyly Carte performance ever recorded - your chance to hear them at their very best.
Every role is brilliantly performed & (as usual) the chorus is first class. It's almost unfair to elevate any one of them - but I particularly like Philip Potter as Frederic. He is the romantic lead (which could so easily be a bore) but he perfectly captures Frederic as naive & gullible - which is so much part of Gilbert's humour - pricking the bubble of honour & duty. Also, the way the chorus imitate Owen Brannigan's vocal inflection in "When a Felon's not engaged.." (ie "A Policeman's lot").
The dialogue is terrific & we are privileged to have a complete a performance on disc of this calibre. I can see that many people will be irritated by its presence. I myself have taken a copy, leaving out the dialogue, for when I don't want to listen too intently.
on 8 January 2004
This set includes the dialogue, which is helpful for keeping track but palls with repeated hearing. The section which relates to a misunderstanding about the words 'orphan' and 'often' is much too laboured for today's audiences and could have been omitted without loss of continuity. However, the cast do the very best that they can with it. The musical side is a total treat and of course Owen Brannigan steals the show as the Sergeant of Police but as he is also in the Sargent version, which is one of this conductor's best sets and--I think--omits the dialogue, it might pay to search this out.
on 10 December 2008
What a lovely change to have a recording with the dialogue. This is the recording I grew up with, on vinyl, and it's nice to have my own copy on cd. All the singers on here are excellent, but the recording is worth buying just for Valerie Masterson's Mabel - a definitive performance of the role.
on 24 December 2015
Musically this is probably the definitive recording of 'Pirates'. Sullivan's gift for orchestration is superbly realised, and Valerie Masterson is the best ever Mabel; her top E flat at the end of 'Poor Wand'ring One' is a joy. Owen Brannigan was always top class as the Sergeant of Police and is in his best form here. All in all, a triumph.