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Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore

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Album Review

This cast recording of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's 1999 production of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera HMS Pinafore is notable primarily for its inclusion of "lost" elements of music and dialogue that were cut by the authors from the original production in 1878. There are snippets of dialogue originally written for the character of Hebe, cousin of the Lord of the British Navy and self-appointed spokeswoman of the "large crowd of admiring female relatives that attend to him wherever he goes." More significantly, the CD includes the first recorded version of "Reflect, My Child," a recently discovered duet between Captain Corcoran and Josephine that was reconstructed for the 1999 production. The song is included as a bonus track at the end of the two-CD set. If the idea of reinstating material to a play that its author deemed inadequate for the initial production seems dubious to you, you may be somewhat reassured to hear that both inclusions serve only to reinforce Gilbert's standing among the most ingenious comic minds in the history of British theater. Hebe's lines, which were apparently cut after a dispute with a temperamental actress, help to flesh out a colorful supporting character. And the duet is among the wittiest in the opera, with Corcoran arguing against an interclass romance between his daughter and a common sailor by suggesting that the sailor "may a second Shakespeare be, endowed with faculty creative, but what avail such gifts if he confounds accusative with dative?" The quality of the recording is excellent, and it features several fine performances from top-flight British singers. But nearly a century after their deaths, Gilbert and Sullivan remain the stars of the show. ~ Evan Cater., Rovi

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Gilbert & Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore, Isidore Godfrey
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  • £6.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: 01 January 1959

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