G&S Discography: Historical Tour
The Gilbert & Sullivan operas have been on records for almost as long as recording technology has existed. The first G&S excerpts on records date from 1898, while the first complete recording of an entire opera dates from about a decade later. With only a few interruptions, new recordings have continued to appear almost continuously throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and a steady stream of re-issues keeps old favorites before the public.
The story of the G&S operas on records has seen four major playback technologies come and go. A fifth, the digital compact disc, is the reigning technology and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. The dawn of each new technology has typically occasioned a slew of new issues, as performers and record companies seek to take advantage of the latest capabilities.
It seems appropriate, therefore, to organize this story by discussing each of the technologies that has reigned over the century that G&S operas have been recorded. In addition, there are separate sections for the history of G&S on visual media and on the radio. Follow the links at the right to read about an era that interests you, or follow the pages in order to read the complete history.