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The Maid of the Mountains
Janis Kelly, Christopher Maltman, Michael George, Richard Suart, The New London Light Opera Chorus and Orchestra Ronald Corp.
Hyperion CDA67190 80m DDD.

AmazonUK Crotchet  

The cause of light music, especially British light music, is indebted to Hyperion and Ronald Corp for their superb recent discs of British Light Music Classics (3), American ditto, European ditto and Sidney Jones' operetta The Geisha. Now they follow The Geisha with The Maid of the Mountains which in the Great War established a record London run (1352 performances), one admittedly soon eclipsed by Chu Chin Chow (music by Frederic Norton, mostly orchestrated by Arthur Wood: is this next for the Hyperion-Corp treatment?). The Maid has been forgotten for too long; Fraser-Simson's music is attractively tuneful, if not often outstandingly memorable - two of the show's three "hits", "A Paradise For Two" and "A Bachelor Gay" were interpolations for the London run by James W. Tate. Fraser-Simson's one hit, "Love Will Find a Way", is strongly redolent of Lehar's The Merry Widow, which had taken the London stage a decade before The Maid; other numbers, notably the Tonio/Governor Act II duet, look further back, to G&S. This CD is splendid: excellent orchestral and choral work, very good recording and presentation (the booklet contains a perceptive note by Andrew Lamb and all the sung words) and fine soloists. Janis Kelly is charming in the title role, as is Sally Burgess as Vittoria. Of the men, Baldassare (Michael George), perhaps the hero, is virtually a non-singing role, brilliant characterisations come from that Savoy stalwart Richard Suart, a subtly understated Tonio, Donald Maxwell, gorgeously bombastic as the Governor and the admirable Christopher Maltman, richly lyrical as Beppo, the "bachelor gay" (the nearest thing to a tenor in the show, he does not, unusually, "get the girl"). I have had a lot of pleasure listening to this generously filled CD and strongly urge you to follow my example.

Philip Scowcroft

See also review by Gerald Fenech

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