Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842 - 1900)
The Mikado (1885) [88.00]
The Mikado - Richard Alexander (bass)
Nanki-Poo - Kanen Breen (tenor)
Ko-Ko - Mitchell Btuel (baritone)
Poo-Bah - Warwick Fyfe (baritone)
Pish-Tush - Samuel Dundas (bass)
Nobleman - Tom Hamilton (bass)
Yum-Yum - Taryn Fiebig (soprano)
Pitti-Sing - Dominica Matthews (mezzo)
Peeb-Bo - Annabelle Chaffey (soprano)
Katisha - Jacqueline Dark (mezzo)
Opera Australia Chorus
Orchestra Victoria/Brian Castles-Onion
rec. live, 24-25 May 2011
OPERA AUSTRALIA OPOZ56016CD [51.04 + 36.42]

Experience Classicsonline



The Mikado hasn’t done brilliantly well on disc. Granted there are individual performances which are outstanding but there isn’t quite one which is perfect. Sir Malcolm Sargent has a strong cast, but his speeds are generally regarded as a bit plodding. One of the best modern recordings is that of Sir Charles Mackerras, but would you really want to be without Valerie Masterson’s performance as Yum Yum for D’Oyly Carte?
 
This new recording comes from Australian Opera and is a live recording of a production which uses Japanese style costumes but which, the publicity tells us, has a distinctly Australian slant. Something of this comes over on the recording, but as the spoken dialogue has been cut we only get the Australian slant tangentially.
 
The issue of spoken dialogue on disc is a bit of a problem; basically you don’t have much choice because just about everyone cuts it apart from D’Oyly Carte. It seems to be assumed that even if you are listening to a recording taken from live performances, Gilbert’s dialogue is of no interest. In fact Mackerras also cuts the overture (by Sullivan’s assistant) in order to fit on one CD.
 
The slightly frustrating thing about this new set is that it comes from a live performance, so there was dialogue and is on 2 CDs so that there was room for dialogue. The CD booklet, though quite chatty, is a little light on the sort of information I would have liked. I’m pretty sure that the overture we hear is re-orchestrated, but the CD does not say. Also, the orchestra sounds quite authentically small, but no sizes are given.
 
Finally there is the role of Ko-Ko, which is sung by the actor Mitchell Butel; best known in Australia for his appearances in the musical ‘Avenue Q’. So we must presume that he used some sort of mike; the photos don’t make it clear. There again the production photographs have no captions so we have to guess as to who is whom.
 
What of the performance? Well, it is very vivid and memorable, clearly based on a live and vividly amusing production. Whatever I thought of individual performances, I don’t think that I could live with the production for repeated listening. It is too specific, too related to the live theatrical event and too full of rather annoying little riffs, asides and spoken interpolations.
 
Kanen Breen as Nanki Poo has a rather robust voice; I have a feeling that heard live he would be a complete delight. His voice has been caught rather close, so you get the a little too much vibrato and texture. His is not the most mellifluous of performances, though certainly characterful.
 
His Yum-Yum is Taryn Fiebig. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t very taken with her performance. In Act 1 she comes over as a little too mature and developed, but then in Act 2 she gives a lovely radiant performance of The sun whose rays.
 
Mitchell Butel as Ko-Ko has a very Broadway-type actor’s voice, but certainly knows what to do with it and his diction is superb. I just wish that someone had reined him in a bit. His mugging starts to wear thin after a bit. His little list is very contemporary and rather wearing.
 
Warwick Fyfe’s Pooh-Bah sounds, at times, rather pressed at the top and dry. His Katisha is Jacqueline Dark; she sounds quite young and light-voiced. So her role is nicely sung, but she does sometimes distort the vocal line for effect. I have to admit to rather missing the dark voiced contralto of the old-fashioned Katisha.
 
Richard Alexander is a pretty impressive Mikado, and thankfully his list of punishments fitting the crime is pretty traditional. Samuel Dundas is a perfectly respectable Pish-Tush.
 
The singing is done with good diction and rather cut-glass English accents, probably intended to sound rather artificial from an Australian point of view.
 
The chorus are a vivacious lot, with lots going on besides actual singing. There must have been quite a bit of stage business, both from the sounds and from the fact that ensemble is sometimes a bit variable.
 
The recorded balance does rather favour the orchestra, though they sound a relatively small band. They contribute some nicely crisp, engaging playing.
 
Conductor Brian Castles-Onion favours quite brisk speeds. He keeps things moving and ensures a dynamic and quite vivid performance.
 
The booklet a track listing, detailed summary and article. At 88 minutes this is rather short for a 2 CD set.
 
This recording will probably appeal mostly to listeners for whom the cast are well known: supporters of Australian Opera. For those of us for whom the cast are mainly just names, the recording just has too much mugging and extra-musical verbiage. Annoying or characterful, it depends on your point of view.
 
Robert Hugill 

see also reviews of the Bluray version by Michael Greenhalgh and the DVD version by Raymond Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.