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The Pirates of Penzance [DVD] 
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One of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous operettas. A young man is forced into piracy and a life of crime but manages to return to favour and win the woman he loves.
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought most of the singing was actually quite good, quite impressed with some of the soloists, Ruth in particular. I've given this 3 stars because as I said, it's probably the best there is out there (I've tried Opera Australia as well, but not impressed with their rendition either). Why oh why can't we have some decent film recordings of G&S operas? I'm lucky enough (and old enough!) to have seen the Savoy Opera perform several of these operettas, and it's possible to get videos of some of their performances with the wonderful John Reid and Valerie Masters, but nothing seems to have been put onto DVD. There is also I believe a G&S Opera Society who perform at the Buxton Festival, but again, no DVDs of their performances. An opportunity missed I think, as I'm sure there are a lot of G&S fans still out there.
Our combined comments are thus:
This is a made-for-TV version of a stage production: consequently, it feels like a pantomime performance. Laughs are lost, words are obscured, and music and singing sounds deadened and dull.
Setting: I know it's supposed to be set in a sandy cove and a cemetery, but it looks like a children's TV studio and Hampstead Heath. Would be OK if the rest of it worked, but set against the cast, performances and camera work, it's just dismal.
Camera work: yes, well. Clunky and static. If you find the camera work obtrusively noticeable in a comic opera, it's a bit rubbbish.
Music: this is not a live orchestra, it is a cast miming along to a recording. This is pretty disastrous for the resultant pace, sparkle and general vivacity of the performance. Singing is also best described as variable to ropey.
Summary: it ends up as a turgid, corny version, largely because the cast don't seem to be having any fun. G&S operas are such an artifice at the best of times that they only really work in the medium they are designed for, i.e. the (slightly disreputable) stage. Any other medium just creates its own failings. Much, much better are the series of Australian productions recorded at the Sydney Opera House, which are gradually being released.
This production promised much but delivered little.
It would not convert many to the work of G & S.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I’ve already reviewed the box set collection of the operas, but as the works are available individually, I thought that posting individual reviews might be useful. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Joyce
It was described as Australian theatre company but wasn't the one stage show I was looking forPublished 19 months ago by alan amos
A Christmas present for my father who lives alone. Gave him such a lift!Published 19 months ago by Maire Fahy
Good production but I would have preferred to see the D'Oyley Carte performing this excellent operetta. Read morePublished on 12 Dec. 2013 by Martin Simister
I hope I can be allowed to review this, as I actually bought it elsewhere, but did so after reading Amazon reviews. Read morePublished on 29 Sept. 2013 by D. Took
The dvd was a great joy to watch. The company is very good and the quality good too.The Australians stayed true to the authors but with some fresh zest.Published on 20 May 2012 by ironman
A Very Disappointing Pirates of Penzance
Why oh Why do Producers mess about with G&S operas, as most of the time they fall flat on their face. Read more