The Gilbert and Sullivan For All Recordings

In 1963, D'Oyly Carte stars Thomas Round and Donald Adams formed Gilbert and Sullivan For All, a small concert group of that gave performances of G&S highlights throughout England and made several world tours. Round had already left D'Oyly Carte, and the group—five or six singers and a pianist—would perform on nights when the Company was playing The Gondoliers, since there was no role for Adams in that opera. After Adams left the Company in 1969, he joined G&S For All on a "full-time" basis. The group remained active through the early 1980s, when Adams's career as an operatic singer and Round's advancing age forced its disbandment.

In 1972, Gilbert and Sullivan For All made a series of one-hour educational films consisting of the overture (played during the credits) and as much of the music as could be accommodated, linked by a narration. None of the operas was complete except for Trial By Jury. All were accompanied by reduced orchestrations except for Cox and Box, which had piano accompaniment. All of the standard canon were represented, except for The Sorcerer, Princess Ida and Patience — the latter since there was no role for Thomas Round. Peter Murray, who was their normal touring pianist, conducted the orchestra.

The sound tracks of these films were subsequently released on LP and cassette. Originally, they were released as one opera per disc or cassette, except for Trial and Cox & Box, which were combined on one disc. The recordings were subsequently paired and re-issued in two-disc or -cassette packages. J. Donald Smith, who provided much of the background for this section, offered this commentary on the G&S For All recordings:

Murray Hill 974193
Murray Hill 974193, comprising all
nine G&S For All recordings

While these recordings cannot replace any of the standard complete performances, they provide a valuable record of some D'Oyly Carte performers whose recordings with the Company were minimal (e.g., Michael Wakeham or John Cartier, who was John Reed's understudy for several years, and who provides a serviceable comic baritone in most of the patter roles) or non-existent (Glyn Adams, the "second" tenor and chorister from 1957–1969). There are also performances by genuine stars in roles they did not record with D'Oyly Carte: Thomas Round as Colonel Fairfax and Valerie Masterson as Elsie Maynard in Yeomen, Donald Adams as Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers, and Ann Hood as Iolanthe and Tessa.

Thomas Round was about sixty at the time these recordings were made. While he no longer sounds like a "juvenile" tenor, his years of operatic training and performance after leaving the D'Oyly Carte provide fuller and more complete characterizations than one usually associates with D'Oyly Carte tenors.

Donald Adams, on the other hand, had begun to sound tired in his last few D'Oyly Carte recordings. In all of these performances he is rejuvenated. A special treat is the wonderful interplay between him and Thomas Round in those operas where they work together—Cox & Box (as the name characters), Pirates (as the Pirate King and Frederic), and Iolanthe (as Mountararat and Tolloller).

This group's recordings include complete accounts of Trial By Jury and Cox & Box (the Savoy Version), and abridged versions of Pinafore, Pirates,, Iolanthe, The Mikado, Ruddigore, Yeomen and The Gondoliers.

See also the article on the
Gilbert and Sullivan For All films.
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