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Filmed Gilbert & Sullivan
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Tatonik
2020-08-29 03:30:25 UTC
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I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.

Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.

The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.

Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
Alan Dawes
2020-08-29 10:56:15 UTC
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Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
In the 1980s in the UK, ITV broadcast performances of 11 G&S operas which
quite a few years later were available on video and then on DVD. A box set
of these were issued by Universal (in PAL not NTSC format) in 2004:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilbert-Sullivan-DVD-Peter-Allen/dp/B0002W1AAA

which I got very cheaply in an HMV sale in London. I found them very
enjoyable. The orchestra is the LSO with the Ambrosian Singers and
soloists with a number of "celebrity" performers. They were re-released in
2014 and the PAL version is available in the sale from amazon.uk for 20 UK
pounds:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilbert-Sullivan-Collection-DVD-box/dp/B00N1TV6NC

The same set seems to be available in NTSC format from amazon.com but
rather more expensive:

https://www.amazon.com/Gilbert-Sullivan-Collection-DVD-box/dp/B00N1TV6NC

I would recommend them to anyone wanting to get to know them. The version
I have each came with a printed libretto and an introduction on the DVDs
hopefully this latest incarnation does to.

Alan
--
***@argonet.co.uk
***@riscos.org
Using an ARMX6
Ricardo Jimenez
2020-08-29 16:31:57 UTC
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On Sat, 29 Aug 2020 11:56:15 +0100, Alan Dawes
Post by Alan Dawes
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
In the 1980s in the UK, ITV broadcast performances of 11 G&S operas which
quite a few years later were available on video and then on DVD. A box set
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilbert-Sullivan-DVD-Peter-Allen/dp/B0002W1AAA
which I got very cheaply in an HMV sale in London. I found them very
enjoyable. The orchestra is the LSO with the Ambrosian Singers and
soloists with a number of "celebrity" performers. They were re-released in
2014 and the PAL version is available in the sale from amazon.uk for 20 UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilbert-Sullivan-Collection-DVD-box/dp/B00N1TV6NC
The same set seems to be available in NTSC format from amazon.com but
https://www.amazon.com/Gilbert-Sullivan-Collection-DVD-box/dp/B00N1TV6NC
I would recommend them to anyone wanting to get to know them. The version
I have each came with a printed libretto and an introduction on the DVDs
hopefully this latest incarnation does to.
Alan
I agree with Alan about the virtues of the set. There are several top
notch individual performances like that of the Mikado. The one real
dud there is Pirates of Penzance. Fortunately there are now blu-rays
of at least two good performances of Pirates: The movie version of the
Joseph Papp production with Angela Lansbury,Kevin Kline and Linda
Ronstadt which is an exponential improvement, sonically and visually,
over the original 1982 release on VHS; The opera Australia with David
Hobson and Anthony Warlow.
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-29 17:41:51 UTC
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Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
John Fowler
2020-08-29 17:56:12 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
John Fowler
2020-08-29 18:00:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
The Stratford Festival of Canada produced some wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan in the '80s.
They were famous for interpolating dance numbers into the operas, based on Sullivan's music - The Gondoliers was the most successful.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=gilbert+sullivan+stratford&i=movies-tv&ref=nb_sb_noss
Ricardo Jimenez
2020-08-29 18:02:03 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
Very little about filmed Mikado versions in that article. However, it
has this interesting Paragraph:
"The Mikado bears the dubious distinction as the only G&S libretto in
which the "n-word" appears not just once but twice. Was Gilbert a
racist? Perhaps, but he probably was no more insensitive than any
other upper-crust Britisher of the time, who was both fascinated and
repulsed by anyone whose family tree was fed by earthy roots.
Curiously, the first report of any concern arose only in 1948, when
Rupert D'Oyly Carte wrote: "We found recently in America that much
objection was taken by coloured persons to a word used twice in The
Mikado... . Many protests and letters were received." From then on,
nearly all performances have substituted on Ko-Ko's list "the banjo
serenader and the others of his race," and the society matron who
wallows in make-up is punished by being "painted with vigor [rather
than 'blacked like a ----'] with permanent walnut juice." Beware,
though, if you're apt to be upset, that most pre-stereo recordings
retain the original text".
John Fowler
2020-08-29 18:16:06 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
Very little about filmed Mikado versions in that article. However, it
"The Mikado bears the dubious distinction as the only G&S libretto in
which the "n-word" appears not just once but twice. Was Gilbert a
racist? Perhaps, but he probably was no more insensitive than any
other upper-crust Britisher of the time, who was both fascinated and
repulsed by anyone whose family tree was fed by earthy roots.
Curiously, the first report of any concern arose only in 1948, when
Rupert D'Oyly Carte wrote: "We found recently in America that much
objection was taken by coloured persons to a word used twice in The
Mikado... . Many protests and letters were received." From then on,
nearly all performances have substituted on Ko-Ko's list "the banjo
serenader and the others of his race," and the society matron who
wallows in make-up is punished by being "painted with vigor [rather
than 'blacked like a ----'] with permanent walnut juice." Beware,
though, if you're apt to be upset, that most pre-stereo recordings
retain the original text".
I found the Stratford Festival Gondoliers dance number on YouTube. The picture and sound are dreadful - they were much better on the DVD:

John Fowler
2020-08-29 18:26:11 UTC
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Post by John Fowler
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
http://classicalnotes.net/classics/mikado.html
Very little about filmed Mikado versions in that article. However, it
"The Mikado bears the dubious distinction as the only G&S libretto in
which the "n-word" appears not just once but twice. Was Gilbert a
racist? Perhaps, but he probably was no more insensitive than any
other upper-crust Britisher of the time, who was both fascinated and
repulsed by anyone whose family tree was fed by earthy roots.
Curiously, the first report of any concern arose only in 1948, when
Rupert D'Oyly Carte wrote: "We found recently in America that much
objection was taken by coloured persons to a word used twice in The
Mikado... . Many protests and letters were received." From then on,
nearly all performances have substituted on Ko-Ko's list "the banjo
serenader and the others of his race," and the society matron who
wallows in make-up is punished by being "painted with vigor [rather
than 'blacked like a ----'] with permanent walnut juice." Beware,
though, if you're apt to be upset, that most pre-stereo recordings
retain the original text".
http://youtu.be/1--SaGvs3es
Flash mob:

r***@gmail.com
2020-09-01 02:44:01 UTC
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Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
Yes! The film 'Topsy Turvy' gives an excellent portrayal of the two men, and of the initial production of 'The Mikado'. It is very well done, and when reviewed it was pointed out that they went for the original look of the costumes, which is quite different from later productions.
John Fowler
2020-09-02 16:54:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
Yes! The film 'Topsy Turvy' gives an excellent portrayal of the two men, and of the initial production of 'The Mikado'. It is very well done, and when reviewed it was pointed out that they went for the original look of the costumes, which is quite different from later productions.
The performance of The Mikado in Topsy Turvy is my favorite filmed Mikado, even though it's just highlights.
I always thought it was a shame that the producers of Topsy Turvey didn't also film the complete operetta.
Owen
2020-09-02 18:25:47 UTC
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Post by John Fowler
Post by Tatonik
I've begun to investigate Gilbert and Sullivan performances that have
been committed to film or video. First up was the 1982 movie version of
"The Pirates of Penzance." It was not an auspicious beginning. The
cast is, by and large, appealing, but the orchestration, heavy on the
synthesizer, is appalling. The production seems to have been conceived
by people who had no confidence in the material - they're always trying
to hype it up. Some things work; a lot of other things don't. Even if
it all worked, I still couldn't forgive the damage done to the music.
It gave me a headache.
Next I turned to the 1939 film of "The Mikado," which, after that
"Penzance," was a relief. I especially liked Sydney Granville as Pooh-Bah.
The first time I saw "The Mikado" was on stage at the Lyric Opera of
Chicago. The director, Peter Sellars, updated the setting to the
present day (1980s). I recall the Gentlemen of Japan were board members
of a Japanese car company seated around the boardroom table, and I have
a dim recollection of a Toyota being driven onto the stage. My critical
faculties were not as yet developed, so I can't say much else about it.
Perhaps it wasn't the best production to see first, though I did enjoy
the opera itself and the tinkering with it. Several decades later,
updating settings in opera is practically de rigueur. One might say the
bloom is off that particular rose.
Any other filmed G&S I should look to?
Yes! The film 'Topsy Turvy' gives an excellent portrayal of the two men, and of the initial production of 'The Mikado'. It is very well done, and when reviewed it was pointed out that they went for the original look of the costumes, which is quite different from later productions.
The performance of The Mikado in Topsy Turvy is my favorite filmed Mikado, even though it's just highlights.
I always thought it was a shame that the producers of Topsy Turvey didn't also film the complete operetta.
Shirley Henderson is exquisite in singing "The Sun whose rays are all
ablaze"

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