The C&B Productions Cox & Box (1994)
|Box||Thomas J. Godfrey|
Accompanist: James Nelson
C&B Productions was a Tampa, Florida-based group dedicated to producing "first-night" recordings of the G&S operas. This recording of Cox & Box was the group's first production. Unlike the two D'Oyly Carte recordings of Cox and Box, which are heavily abridged, this is the complete opera (about an hour long), with all the dialogue.
The singers are amateurs, and Jamie Bierchen has some trouble with Cox's high tessitura. The accompaniment is an odd-sounding cocktail of harpsichord, harp, mandolin and string quartet. The liner notes say that these forces were chosen to give the work a chamber ambiance, as it would have had at its first performance in libretist F. C. Burnand's drawing room. However, I suspect financial considerations may also have figured in the choice. Once one gets past these compromises, this is a fine recording of Cox & Box indeed, and listeners who want to hear the work as originally written will want to own it.
The recording was issued on CD only. It came with a booklet containing both the original version and the "Savoy" version of the libretto. A year later, the group produced a recording of The Mikado, which turned out to be their last.