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Gilbert & Sullivan - Iolanthe  [DVD]
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Starring Alexander Oliver, Thomas Hemsley, and Kate Flowers. London Symphony Orchestra and the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. 115 minutes.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the choreography is a little clumsy (and I'm not talking about the fairy in the opening song - she's deliberate), the blue-screening is obvious, but this was 1982. I've always remembered that gorgeous teddy bear in Lord's robes, and having just seen it again, I still want it.
Purists may not like this version, but to me that's the same as not daring to laugh at Shakespeare's comedies - and that's another story entirely. The most surprising fact is that, despite it being the D'oyly Carte and the London Philamonic Orchgestra, this DVD is not available in the UK. It seems to me, in this case at least, America is taking better care of our culture than we are!
Iolanthe has an incredible sense of fun so watch it, especially if you never thought the victorians had a sense of humour. The introduction was interesting and useful, as was the potted biography of G & S themselves. To top it all, Iolanthe was first performed on my birthday (the date - not the year!) so maybe this is why I feel such an affinity for it!
Played through an amplifier with good loudspeakers the singing, music and sound quality are good and the equal of any other production. In fact I prefer this version to the D’Oyly Carte recording I have on vinyl. With regard to the audio the years have not been unkind.
The same cannot be said of the visuals. The recording was made when TV screens were square and small. The deficiencies of the picture become apparent on a large wide-screen TV.
The introduction by Douglas Fairbanks does not bear repetition, so a fast forward is useful; alternatively his monologue could have been included in the libretto that accompanied the DVD.
The producer did not take full advantage of the freedom from the constraints of a stage and the production remains more static than necessary. Some of the acting would not be acceptable in a small village AmDram production so again a fast forward is useful.
These deficiencies aside this DVD is probably one of the best available and should not detract from the excellent vocal and orchestral performance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a 90th birthday gift - recipient was over the moon with it!Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Mr. Burns
Excellent condition arrived when promised. An old production but good vocals and just what I wanted to learn the music fromPublished on 4 July 2014 by KB