The 1962 D'Oyly Carte Ruddigore
D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus
Recordeed at Walthamstow Town Hall
Decca 473 656-2
This recording continued D'Oyly Carte's traversal of the operas in stereo that had begun with Pirates in 1957. Several recordings of the series had been issued with dialogue, but this set returned to the practice of recording the music only. Decca originally advertised the set as including all the dialogue, and the December 1962 issue of The Savoyard included a letter from an irate subscriber who purchased the recording and was dismayed to find only the music.
It is unclear whether Decca simply made an error in its advertising, or whether Decca actually had planned to issue the recording with dialogue and changed their minds afterward. This was the only G&S set that Decca published with the musical numbers separately banded, and this has led some observers to believe that the dialogue was recorded but not issued.
Why D'Oyly Carte and Decca stopped recording dialogue has never been explained, but there are several possible reasons. Some listeners only wanted to hear the music, and before the CD era there was no easy way to skip past the dialogue. Many people felt that dialogue simply didn't record well. Lastly, for the longer operas, dialogue probably would have pushed the recording onto a third disc. This was done for the 1961 Gondoliers, but Decca may have believed that it was not justified for other operas.
For the first time since the 1924 recording, this set included the Rose/Richard duet, "The battle's roar is over." As a bonus, the original overture (by Sullivan musical assistant Hamilton Clarke) was also included, in addition to the familiar replacement authored by Geoffrey Toye for the 1919 revival. This is a solid performance of the opera, though it has been eclipsed by the definitive New Sadler's Wells recording.
Many listeners have praised the performance of the Act II patter song, "My eyes are fully open," on this recording. All three soloists seem to make it through their verse without taking a breath. One correspondent suggested that this effect was achieved by splicing together multiple takes (with the soloist breathing in a different place each time). However, other correspondents insist that no splice is there, and that none would have been needed. If the singers positioned themselves close to the microphone, they could have sung their respective verses while expending comparatively little breath, thus achieving an effect in the studio that they could never have duplicated in performance.
This recording has been re-issued on CD and cassette coupled with the 1961 Cox & Box. (The CD set was originally issued by mistake with the 1978 Cox & Box, even though the liner notes very clearly referred to the 1961 recording.)
|1962||Decca||Mono LP||LK 4504/5
|The catalog numbers containing 'A' are Australian pressings.|
|Stereo LP||SLK 4504/5|
|1986||Decca||Stereo LP||417 355-1||Digitally remastered. Also includes Cox and Box|
|2003||Decca||CD||473 631-2||24-CD set including the complete Decca G&S series on CD (13 G&S operas, plus Cox and Box and The Zoo).|