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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Gilbert & Sullivan: The Sorcerer

10/29/2017 1:00 pm
10/29/2017 4:30 pm

 

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Among the comic operas in the G & S canon Ruddigore (1887) is certainly appropriate for Halloweentide broadcast. I presented an old Decca/London LP recording of it (Godfrey/D'Oyly Carte Opera Co.) on Sunday, October 30, 1983 and again on Halloween Sunday, 1993.

The Sorcerer (1877) is equally suitable as Halloween fare, but until very recently I had difficulty finding a recording of it. In fact, this early G & S collaboration has been neglected in the discography. The Sorcerer has been available on compact disc since 2005 courtesy of the American Albany Records label. Albany has given us the first complete recording on two CDs. It provides all of Sir Arthur Sullivan's tuneful score and W. S. Gilbert's witty spoken dialogue.

Long before Harry Potter, there was the Victorian sorcerer, Mr. John Wellington Wells. J. W. Wells was a consummate spellmaker and was quite commercially successful at his craft. Moreover, he's a lot more entertaining than that boy Harry. The Sorcerer was not recorded in some British Savoyard production, but by the Ohio Light Opera Company, who staged it for their 2005 festival. Ohio Light Opera's Ted Christopher is hilarious as Wells.