Gilbert & Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance / D'Oyly Carte
Philip Creasy is an engaging and vocally secure Frederic, and Marilyn Hill Smith trips through "Poor wandering one" with a delectable display of vocal ability and agility. The couple's interplay with the chorus in "How beautifully blue the sky" is quite enchanting, and their exchanges in "Stay, Frederic, stay" splendidly convincing. Moreover, Eric Roberts gives the Major-General a personality that is sadly missing from his Ko-Ko [Mikado], while the dotty exchanges between Simon Masterton-Smith's Sergeant of Police and his police force are sheer joy. Even such details as the girls' screams at the appearance of the pirates in Act 1 have an effectiveness rarely to be heard. This new version (without dialogue) is certainly one to be recommended warmly alongside the Decca (which includes the dialogue) and the EMI (which has various overtures as fillers).
By chance I sat down to review these new recordings just a couple of days after receiving a copy of Kurt Ganzl's Blackwell Guide to the Musical Theatre on Record (Blackwell: 1990), a stimulating new survey of musical theatre LP recordings. Ganzl's opinions do not always coincide with mine, but on these two works we are reasonably in accord. Like me, he admires both the earlier versions of The Pirates of Penzance, to which I now add my recommendation for this new release.
-- Gramophone [9/1990]
Catalog Number: SONY 58892
Composer: Arthur Sullivan
Conductor: John Pryce-Jones
Orchestra/Ensemble: D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus, D'Oyly Carte Opera Orchestra
Performer: Eric Roberts, Gareth Jones, Juliet Arthur, Malcolm Rivers, Marilyn Hill Smith, Patricia Cameron, Pauline Birchall, Philip Creasy, Simon Masterson-Smith, Susan Gorton