The 1964 D'Oyly Carte Utopia, Limited [excerpts]

King ParamountDonald Adams
ScaphioJohn Reed
PhantisKenneth Sandford
Lord DramaleighKenneth Sandford
Captain FitzbattleaxeThomas Round
Mr. GoldburyAnthony Raffell
Princess ZaraAnn Hood
Lady SophyJean Allister

D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera
Conductor: Isidore Godfrey

Recorded in August 1963

London A-4155
London A-4155

These excerpts from Utopia, Limited were issued to fill the extra space on the 1964 Trial By Jury. It was the first time the Company recorded any portion of this opera, which was not in the repertory at the time. Only six numbers were included:

  • "O make way for the Wise Men" (Chorus)
  • "In every mental lore" (Scaphio, Phantis)
  • "Oh, maiden, rich in Girton lore" (Chorus, Zara, Fitzbattleaxe)
  • "Oh, Zara, my beloved one" / "A tenor all singers above" (Fitzbattleaxe)
  • "Words of love too loudly spoken" (Zara and Fitzbattleaxe)
  • "Eagle high" (Chorus)

One curiosity stands out: although singers are credited with the roles of King Paramount, Lord Dramaleigh, Mr. Goldbury and Lady Sophy, no solo music for these characters is included. The obvious inference is that more numbers were recorded than issued. Those hopes, however, have finally been dashed. Bruce Doery posted to Savoynet:

When this recording was first issued I wrote to [the] D'Oyly Carte Company querying whether the listing of Donald Adams, Anthony Raffell and Jean Allister on the LP cover was an indication that there were additional unissued tracks. I received the following reply for Frederick Lloyd (Company Secretary) —his emphasis and punctuation:

The explanation of the casting of Utopia, Limited is that, in fact these characters do sing on the record, but not as soloists. In other words, they are used in the ensemble works and it was felt advisable to have the parts sung by our regular soloists; otherwise, believe me, some of your fellow-Associate Members would have written to ask us why the parts in these ensembles were not sung by a Principal!"

Of course, as Doery and others have also noted, Jean Allister was not a D'Oyly Carte principal, but an imported guest artist.

Chris Webster, whose Sounds on CD label has now re-issued these excerpts on CD, embellished:

There has been a lot of speculation about this over the years, and I had hoped to find out more when I next licence stuff from Decca, as early talks had told me that we could look to see if anything else was recorded from Utopia than was issued, and that if there was more and it still survives I would be allowed to issue it.

Well, things [hadn't] progressed to that stage with Decca yet, but I recently brought the subject up casually with a friend of mine, who surprised me by saying that he had been invited along as a guest to the recording sessions for Trial and the Utopia highlights, and he was able to confirm not just that these were the only Utopia items to have been recorded, but that they were also the only items that they had ever intended to record.

It seems that although he was in an awkward position, being present only as a specially invited onlooking guest, he had a slight exchange with one of the senior recording staff (perhaps the producer), who had said that they knew exactly how much time they had spare on the Trial album for the Utopia highlights and had carefully picked material that would fill this gap exactly, adding that it was just as well that there wasn't room for any more because there was nothing else in Utopia that was worth recording anyway!! I'm sure that even the people here who don't particularly like Utopia will find that statement ridiculous…

I then raised the point with my friend about Allister's presence. After all, she only sings Sophy's harmony line in "Eagle High," and anybody could have sung that; her involvement in just this did indeed suggest that there could have been more recorded than was issued otherwise it was hardly worth calling her in. My friend then put forward an idea that had never occurred to me, but which is convincing, which is that many recording artists have a minimum numbers of recording sessions stipulated in their contracts and Allister's appearance in Utopia might have been no more than Decca finding an opportunity to carry out an obligation to Allister.

With a complete D'Oyly Carte Utopia now in the catalog, these excerpts are clearly of less importance than they were in 1964. They are now available on CD, on Chris Webster's Of Pleasures There Are Many D'Oyly Carte compilation disc.

Issue History
1964 Decca Mono LP LK 4579
LKA 4579
With 1964 Trial. The Decca catalog numbers containing 'A' are Australian pressings.
Stereo LP SKL 4579
SKLA 4579
London Mono LP A 4155
Stereo LP OSA 1155
ca. 1980 Decca Viva Stereo LP AUS 1051/2 Australia/New Zealand issue. Double LP/cassette includes 1964 Trial, 1978 Zoo, and 1978 Cox and Box
Cassette KAUS 1051/2
Sounds on CD 2005 CD VGS254 Compliation disc called "Of Pleasures There Are Many," comprising all of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's separately recorded G&S excerpts.