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220 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a historical curiosity.
For G&S buffs, this is a first class treat. The D'Oyly Carte 1949-51 'Isadore Godfrey Mono Recordings' skillfuly remastered onto CD - and what a box of delights this turns out to be.
The first thing that strikes you about this is just how good the recordings themselves sound. Undrstandably, where there is heavy bass in the orchestra, they can be a little 'boomy' at...
Published on 31 Aug 2004 by J. J. Rhodes

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice period piece and good value
The quality of the recording is actually fine (although it's not in stereo) and the performances are nicely mannered.

One or two of the singers are, surprisingly, of dubious quality, and at first I thought this was deliberate for some satirical purpose - but they are the same in every opera. This gives the performances a slightly amateurish feel at times; but...
Published 14 months ago by John Meakin


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220 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a historical curiosity., 31 Aug 2004
By 
J. J. Rhodes "Jonthan Rhodes" (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
For G&S buffs, this is a first class treat. The D'Oyly Carte 1949-51 'Isadore Godfrey Mono Recordings' skillfuly remastered onto CD - and what a box of delights this turns out to be.
The first thing that strikes you about this is just how good the recordings themselves sound. Undrstandably, where there is heavy bass in the orchestra, they can be a little 'boomy' at times but, considering how relatively primitive recording techniques were in 1950, the overall result of this remaster is nothing short of miraculous.
Preserved here, in doubtless better reproductive condition than when they were originally issued, are performances by some of the great 'legends' of D'Oyly Carte. Martyn Green, Darrell Fancourt, Leonard Osborn and Ella Halman all featuring heavily along with others like Peter Pratt and Joyce Wright, who were yet to become great stars with the company.
Of the performances themselves, the main thing that you notice is how 'terribly terribly' correct the English diction is. Most of the time this is of little consequence but just occasionally it intrudes. Muriel Harding's Elsie Maynard in 'Yeoman', for instance, sounds as if she has just stepped out of the hallowed halls of RADA rather than having been on the road as a touring sidekick to a two-bit comic for the past 'whoknowshowmany' years! Incongruous, too, is the use of Ann Drummond-Grant in several roles, including Phoebe Meryll in 'Yeoman', which she never played on stage. Perhaps the fact that she was Mrs Isadore Godfrey at the time had something to do with it!
These, however are but small blemishes in what is otherwise a fascinating twelve hour feast of G&S - a series which shows us just how good many of the stars of yesteryear were. Darrell Fancourt's 'Mikado' is a real collectors item and it is wonderful to hear Alan Styler, a much under-rated and unsung performer at his very best. What a shame he was taken from us at the young age of 45 before the later stereo recordings could make the most of his prodigious talents!
In truth, though, this collection is tribute to the unique talent of Martyn Green. Here is his signature role, Jack Point, in all its pathetic glory, here are those masterful performances of the patter songs, and here is the definitive recording of Bunthorne in 'Patience'- in my opinion, the finest G&S performance of any on record.
This is a collection that will give hours of pleasure to lovers of the Savoy Operas.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Nostalgia!, 4 May 2008
By 
Mr. Ih Thain "Ian Hawthorn Thain" (Oxfordshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
I agree wholeheartedly with the review by J.J.Rhodes, but feel I should make the point that the whole set is recorded in full glorious MONO! Once you have got over the shock of the sound stage collapsing into a point source however, the music really is delightful, and takes me back to the days when I used to pay 9d to sit up in the gods at the Golders Green Hippodrome to hear the D'Oyly Carte company sing their way through all those charming numbers. This set has a distinctly dated feel about it, and makes one realise just how much performing styles, as well as recording techniques, have changed in half a century (and some of the artists were clearly chosen for their ability to act rather than their ability to sing!). But for all that, I'm glad I bought it. This is authentic G&S in its heyday as it really was, and any musical director of a modern production of one of the Savoy Operas should have this set in his collection.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Forgotten' G and S Recordings., 8 Jan 2009
By 
Thomas Dewhurst (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
Overshadowed by the prewar D'Oyly Carte electric recordings and the later stereo records of the late '50s and the '60s, and ignored now by Decca themselves, this nevertheless is a set every G and S fan should own. The transfers are excellent with only the very slightest distortion in a few of the loudest passages with chorus (remember, Avid did not have access to the original tapes) and the included literature is well done. Nine operas, musicaly complete, and some additional material, all cleverly squeezed onto ten CDs at a bargain price. One reservation over the performance of 'Pirates' - it drags! Certainly Isidore Godfrey luxuriates in the first-time freedom of the LP medium throughout this series but this opera is really slow and unexciting. This, coupled with poor Leonard Osborn's obvious voice problem (he actually sounds as if he has a throat infection on this recording) and Muriel Harding's difficulties with the top notes of 'Poor Wandering One', spoil it for me. However there are eight others to enjoy, especially 'Yeomen' with Martyn Green's definitive Jack Point. All told, a must-have!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely entertaining, 6 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
I bought this box set for my (elderly) mother. She does not hear well and uses hearing aids so the fact that it was mono was completely irrelevant to her. I have to say that the disks were a huge success. She told me I couldn't have bought her a better gift which was most sattisfying!! I've listened to them along with her and we both found the music wonderful (as expected) and I also found that the quality was not at all bad. A thoroughly enjoyable collection and (to my mum) PERFECT.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was brought up on G&S, 7 Sep 2010
This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
I was brought up on G&S and I still have a complete collection of the Ace of Clubs recordings. They are so scratched that when I copied them to CD's using "modern technology", the end product was - shall we say - dodgy. O.K. so the English is VERY English and the top notes here and there are a bit iffy, but these recordings take me back to my youth, and the many happy hours I sung along to them while restoring my old house. Perhaps now you see why the LPs are so battered! A Joy. A Real Joy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan, 22 July 2011
By 
GeoffD (Solihull, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
This is a boxed set of historical recordings. The quality of the recordings is a bit variable (not surprising in view of the age) but is always acceptable. The singing is excellent and I liked this set very much. So much so that I bought another set for a friend who is also a G&S fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert and Sullivan CD Box set, 6 Mar 2011
By 
M. J. Inkpen "Taffyink" (Cardiff, God's Country) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
Just the ticket. Listened to about 60% already and looking forward to the remainder.
Nice to have the timings of each song on the sleeve.
Well worth the price!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice period piece and good value, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
The quality of the recording is actually fine (although it's not in stereo) and the performances are nicely mannered.

One or two of the singers are, surprisingly, of dubious quality, and at first I thought this was deliberate for some satirical purpose - but they are the same in every opera. This gives the performances a slightly amateurish feel at times; but they are still fun.

The accents are unintentionally hilarious, and hark back to a vanished world (sob).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars comfortable, 17 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
The CDs proudly proclaim that their technical reconstruction is uniquely identifiable and is designed for a comfortable and enjoyable listening experience. And this is the problem. Whilst the sound is comfortable the remastering has totally taken the life out of the recording. Its like an old radiogram with the treble turned down and the bass turned up to maximum. The sound booms. To get any reasonable sound the volume has to be turned up to an unacceptable level. Which is a pity as these performances are viery good, in many cases superior to the stereo remakes by the D'oyly Carte made in the late fifties and early sixties. Martyn Green is unequalled in many of the roles.

Maybe Universal will remaster the original tales in their possession and provide a first class listening experience.

Incidentally I followed my listening of HMS Pinafore with a side from my old ACE of Clubs set. And, despite the crackle and distortion this was a far happier listen. It may not have been comfortable but it had life!

Good value at 13.49 but it could have been so much better
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected better, 5 Aug 2011
This review is from: Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) (Audio CD)
I agree with the other comments (although rather a G&S novice myself!)
I wonder if it couldn't have packaged a bit better. The ouverture (and only the ouverture) to The Mikado is separate from the rest of the operetta (on the previous CD, after Patience), after which (in order to insert the short Trial By Jury) everything goes out of kilter, and ALL of the following (The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, The Gondoliers, and The Yeomen of the Guard) are split across two CDs (eg Act 2 of Pirates and part of Act 1 of Iolanthe). Surely it could have been possible to keep most works on a CD each, perhaps by adding a disc or by skipping some bonus tracks?
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Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company)
Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company) by Gilbert and Sullivan (Audio CD - 2004)
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