This live recording of an acclaimed one-off, sold-out performance at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival captures the wit and fun of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore.
4 stars - Performance / 4 stars - Sound
'[With] a cast of top-drawer voices headed by Toby Spence's buoyant Ralph Rackstraw and Elizabeth Watts's Josephine...this is definitely recommendable.' BBC Music Magazine
'...with a cast like this, the results are never less than engaging – whether it’s the chorus, sighing in response to Elizabeth Watts’s breathless ‘I love you’ as Josephine in the Act 1 finale or the orchestra’s delicious period-appropriate portamentos...' Gramophone
Disc of the Week: '…for my money Egarr and Co. get the balance between tradition and freshness absolutely spot-on...Egarr brings out some wonderful orchestral detail. ' Presto
Heading up a cast that reads like a 'who's who' of the opera world is John Mark Ainsley, Elizabeth Watts and Toby Spence. Completing the star-studded line up is comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor (The Goodies, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue) as the narrator.
Conductor Richard Egarr (AAM, SCO) applies his extensive knowledge of period performance practice to recreate the sound and style typical of the late nineteenth century, a first for a G&S recording.
HMS Pinafore is rich in comic burlesque, sending up theatrical and operatic conventions and parodying the Italian opera of the day. The tongue-in-cheek writing is apparent from the opening chorus and the music is equally rich in comic pastiche and styles; 'For he is an Englishman' is one of the greatest master strokes.
The complete cast list is: John Mark Ainsley (The Rt Hon. Sir Joseph Porter KCB), Elizabeth Watts (Josephine), Andrew Foster-Williams (Captain Corcoran), Toby Spence (Ralph Rackstraw), Kitty Whately (Hebe), Neal Davies (Dick Deadeye), Hilary Summers (Little Buttercup), Gavan Ring (Bill Bobstay) and Barnaby Rea (Bob Becket).
Climb aboard the HMS Pinafore for a hugely fun seafaring romp!