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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 28 April 2017
very pleased
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on 23 July 2017
Excellent - thank you.
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2010
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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on 8 January 2009
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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on 31 August 2004
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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on 22 July 2011
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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on 4 May 2008
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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on 7 September 2010
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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on 6 March 2011
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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This is a great set for those looking to get into the world of a Gilbert and Sullivan.

Neither I nor my wife like opera as a genre. I agree with Kenneth Clarke - who clearly does like opera - when he says, in Civilisation, that opera is inherently absurd or ridiculous. Fortunately the absurd and ridiculous are at the heart of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic 'topsy-turvy' world. So the bombast and stridency that usually put my wife and I off are made more palatable, usually in pricking the pomposity of foolish human vanities.

What lead us to buy this set was watching Mike Leigh's utterly superb film, Topsy Turvy, for the umpteenth time. It's a testament to that film's powerful evocation of the era and the work of G&S and co. that we finally overcame our aversion to opera and bought these discs. Other factors, also a result of watching the film, include choosing this D'Oyly Carte set both in tribute to a great Victorian entrepreneur, and for its 'authentic pedigree', so to speak.

Over 10 discs, the D'Oyly Carte company present 9 operas: Trial by Jury; HMS Pinafore; The Pirates of Penzance; Patience; Iolanthe; The Mikado; Ruddigore; The Yeoman of the Guard; The Gondoliers; 'plus Pineapple Poll and other bonus material'. I'm no G&S buff (yet!), but I do know this is not a complete set, as it doesn't contain a number of their works, such as early productions Thespis, and The Sorcerer, or their last two operas, Utopia, Limited or The Grand Duke.

Considering the age of these post WWII recordings they sound remarkably good. The plummy operatic delivery, which might irritate in other contexts, seems perfectly of a part with the whole world of the Gilbert and Sullivan, the Savoy Opera, and D'Oyly Carte's vision, and ends up being part of the charm. At the time of writing, we've yet to hear the whole set. A favourite new discovery for me is 'Patience'; as a graduate of an art and art-history degree the mocking of the precious world of the aesthete has a particular personal resonance!

I originally gave this set four stars. Partly because several operas are split over two discs, and partly because this budget set doesn't contain any lyrics. But as Amazon's definition of a five item is 'I love it', I've gone with the full five stars. It would've been even better had it been a complete set of the collaborations of Gilbert and Sullivan. And having the lyrics to read and enjoy as one listens would also have been a boon. But as it is, this is a fantastic compendium of a rich and enjoyable body of work, and at a bargain price.

We have a debt of gratitude to Mike Leigh for opening our eyes and our ears to the comical yet humane world of Gilbert and Sullivan. And it's great that the D'Oyly Carte vision and legacy is being kept going, both in this 'archival' form, and on stage. We'd welcome any suggestions as to which DVDs of the stage productions people might recommend. And tickets for some live performances beckon...
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