D'Oyly Carte Opera Company; Isidore Godfrey
Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado; Trial By Jury (2CD)
Bursting onto the scene with a sensational two-year run at the Savoy Theatre (672 performances commencing on 14 March 1885), it was not long before The Mikado was playing around the world in myriad different productions and translations – and it continues to be greeted with unparalleled global enthusiasm today.
This October 1957 recording of the opera, marked the start of a new and, for many collectors’ ‘golden’, era for the D’Oyly Carte company on record. Made only seven years after a very fine post-war LP set, this remake benefits from remarkably present stereo sound. The orchestral playing is of an appreciably higher standard than in the previous version and, following a major changing of the guard with company principals in the mid-1950s, the set features a strong array of soloists.
Performed 300 times in its first two years, Trial by Jury was an acclaimed success that cemented the symbiotic relationship between composer and librettist. This 1974 recording, part of the D’Oyly Carte’s last cycle of Savoy Operas for Decca, was released the following year in a busy season celebrating the centenary of the work’s first performance and the foundation of the company. As with its 1963 predecessor, most of the principal roles in this Trial recording are taken by the company’s leading lights – notably star patter-man John Reed, on sparkling form as the Judge – rather than the artists who routinely played them on stage.
WILLIAM SCHWENCK GILBERT
The Lord Chancellor: John Reed
Earl of Mountararat: John Ayldon
Earl Tolloller: Malcolm Williams
Private Willis: Kenneth Sandford
Strephon: Michael Rayner
Queen of the Fairies: Lyndsie Holland
Iolanthe: Judi Merri
Celia: Marjorie Williams
Leila: Patricia Leonard
Fleta: Rosalind Griffiths
Phyllis: Pamela Field
D’Oyly Carte Opera Company
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
FIRST RELEASE ON DECCA CD