The Ohio Light Opera Mikado (2008)
Ohio Light Opera
Based on past performances by this group, I was totally uninterested in acquiring this recording. I present the comments of one who did.
Review by Dan Florip
By far their best has been Sorcerer (save for the goofy finale they tacked on), and I'd hoped they'd continue moving in a better direction, hopefully giving us a Patience, Ruddigore, or SWOG/GWOS. But Mikado? Come on, we have plenty of those.
They seem intent on recording in a theater without an audience but trying to (and failing at) replicating actual studio conditions. Recording on stage with all the ambient noise and foot shuffling is terribly bad on the ears when an audience isn't there to inject energy into the recording (for the best example of audience interaction, buy Chris Webster's release of our UMGASS 1986 Pirates!). And of course as you say they pipe in canned applause for each act. Put it all together, and they continue to bill their recordings as "Live!" Taking a few minor suggestions to heart could greatly improve their recordings:
Dear Ohio Light Opera,
- Record in a ROOM, not on a stage, if you're intent on studio conditions.
- Record with an audience, if you want live conditions.
- Beef up your orchestra with some ringers for the recording.
- Don't cut songs like "Were I thy bride"
- Don't split Act I onto two discs when it will fit on one. Who cares if one CD is 76 minutes and the other is 45?
- If you're going to record on stage, put the mics in the air, not on the stage.
- Lose the canned applause at the end of acts. In Yeomen, it was also piped in for "her ladyship" Julie Wright's rendition of "Tis done! I am a bride."
- If there has already been a complete professional recording made, or if you have made cuts to dialogue or songs, you shouldn't be billing your recording as the "First Complete Professional Recording."
- Put music and dialogue on completely separate tracks. Or at the very least, don't start a track with dialogue and end it with music.
- Lose the Midwestern American twang (though to be truthful they've gotten a whole lot better with this more recently).
- If you're not going to take the simple steps above to improve your production values, don't charge $37+ for your CD set.
- Don't call your recording "Live" if an audience isn't present.
Note: Julie Wright, Associate Artistic Director of Ohio Light Opera and Katisha in this recording, was understandably displeased at the above "review." She insisted that the OLO recordings are indeed "live," and that there is no canned applause.