The Sadler's Wells Mikado (1962)
Sadler's Wells Chorus and Orchestra
After 1961, the fiftieth anniversary year of W. S. Gilbert's death, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company lost its performing monopoly on the Gilbert & Sullivan Operas. The operas were now free to anyone who wanted them, and one of the first to take advantage was the Sadler's Wells Opera (known today as the English National Opera), which mounted new productions of The Mikado and Iolanthe. Many G&S traditionalists feared that the D'Oyly Carte would be crowded out of existence, but this did not happen. The two Sadler's Wells productions quietly faded away after a few short years of life, while the D'Oyly Carte marched on.
This recording, which was contemporaneous with the Sadler's Wells production, is certainly a capable one, but in a market crowded with Mikado recordings, there is little to distinguish it. Its biggest surprise is an original overture (credited to "Dodgson") which is a potpourri in the manner of Pineapple Poll. While improving on the original is not difficult, it is not as good as Sullivan would have done. (The Mikado overture is not by Sullivan, but by Sullivan assistant Hamilton Clarke. It is generally not considered one of the stronger Savoy overtures. Sullivan evidently considered replacing it for one of the revivals in the 1890s, but alas, he never got around to it.)
Perhaps this recording's most compelling virtue is price: the CD re-issue comes in an EMI "two-fer" jewel box that also includes the Sadler's Wells Iolanthe.
|Sept. 1962||EMI||Mono LP||CLP 1592/3|
|Stereo LP||CSD 1458/9|
|1983||EMI||Stereo LP||ESDW 107718 3|
|ca. 1980||World Record Club||Stereo LP||S/4132-3|
|1993||EMI||CD||CFP CD 4730
|Also includes Sadler's Wells Iolanthe (highlights)|