Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gilbert Sullivan - The Gondoliers / David Hobson Roger Lemke Australian Opera|
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
The impoverished Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro come to Venice in search of the heir to the throne of Barataria, inconveniently mislaid at birth and betrothed to their daughter. The most likely candidates are two handsome ... more »
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Australian Opera's production of "The Gondoliers"
John Welch | Los Angeles, California, USA | 12/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I am not mistaken, this production was first staged by the Stratford (Ontario) Festival Company. Also, if I am not mistaken again, that original Canadian production is still available on DVD.
What a wonderful breath of fresh air blows through this "Gondoliers"! I agree with Cameo's comments and caveats, e.g. the omission of "I am a courtier grave and serious" - which could have been done magnificently and with great fun! - and the changes/additions to the orignal script to suit politcally aware Canadians - and Australians - but those detract only minimally in my opinion from the overall enjoyment.
The general 'liveliness' of the production is outstanding. Quite clearly, the members of the cast - both principals and chorus - were chosen not only for the high quality of their singing, but also for their dancing/acting abilities. To me, as an elderly and former Brit (now retired and living in California) who knew the original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company extremely well, I have to say that if that company had been able to come up with similar productions back in the 1970s, it might well still be alive and kicking today.
I must add that I consider the Stratford (Ontario) production of "Iolanthe" to be equally fresh, stimulating and fun in every way. Maureen Forrester as a diva of a Fairy Queen leads a wonderful cast - without a single weak link. When the chorus of Fairies and Peers join Lords Mountararat and Tolloler at the end of the Act 2 "If you go in" trio, the syncopated tap-dance/soft-shoe shuffle is a special triumph for all concerned and should be seen by all Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts!"
An early Hobson performance in a dated but still entertainin
Cameo | 08/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with using 'topical' references in G&S (or similar) productions is that they quickly become dated, so in this case what was regarded as very funny in 1989 is now passe and almost forgotten (even by Australians) and in one instance - the reference to the Princess of Wales - painfully unfortunate.
But despite some over-enthusiastic updating of lyrics, the music remains as delightful as ever, of course, although the sacrifice of 'I am a Courtier, Grave and Serious' was regrettable, particularly since the Duke and Duchess' duet which preceeded it was modernised (and how!).
The singing, too, is first-class, even when one is reminded just how old this production is by the young David Hobson's endearingly croaky bottom notes in 'Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes'! Soon to be acclaimed for his portrayal of Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann's first version of La Boheme - and now Australia's leading tenor - he was still near the beginning of his remarkable stage career in 1989, and the DVD is worth having just to see him in an early role.
The routine pairing of Hobson and Roger Lemke, thoroughly enjoying themselves as Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri - the Gondoliers of the title - complimented by Christine Douglas (Gianetta) and Suzanne Johnston (Tessa) made for some excellent performances by the 'young chickens'. Right behind them, though, were the 'old birds', Australian Opera stalwarts of the day Robert Gard and Graeme Ewer as the Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro, and the inimitable Dennis Olsen (Don Alhambra).
Susan Benson's costumes showed to particular advantage in the highlight of the production, the Act II "Cachucha" sequence - where Director/Choreographer Brian Macdonald was to be congratulated for managing to make most of the cast look like reasonable dancers!
Good, but disappointing
PT Ted | Ohio | 03/05/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am very happy to have the Gondoliers in a video format, as I only had my LP D'Oyly Carte version previously. I keep hoping for a DVD G&S production like this to be in HD, but still must wait.
Although the singing and dancing are OUTSTANDING, I could only give this a three star review for the following reasons:
1. The "clown/mime/dancers," although the live audience seemed to enjoy them, were a distraction to me. Kind of like watching a fly performing as an "extra" in a movie. Adding nothing but distraction.
2. The very generous re-writing of the lyrics in so many places. A bit of that is OK, in my opinion, but I often felt like this was no longer a Gilbert and Sullivan work, but "based on a Light Opera by Gilbert and Sullivan." The extensive re-writing of the lyrics with so much "current history" (which is now less current, anyhow) was disappointing. This may have been done to make it more funny and topical, but the original was also funny and still seems relevant and topical to me! Promoting Plaza-Toro condoms seemed out of "character" in a G&S production.
3. The Grand Inquisitor had such a poor "accent" added to his "persona." And him adding in a few "Madre de Dios" to his dialogue made it even worse. Just like the clown/mimes, it was very distracting to me.
4. Cutting "I am a Courtier, Grave and Serious" to make room for the mimes and added material was unfortunate.
All together, three stars is not "bad." But it could have been better!"
Thoroughly Entertaining Although Not Purist
David | Houston, Texas, USA | 05/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must agree with the other reviewers that this performance is not purely Gilbert and Sullivan but it was purely fun and entertaining to me!
It can stand on its own as a joyous fun time of laughter and entertainment. I watched it again last night and by the time it was over I was laughing and refreshed by the experience. Yes, it does have some flaws but these are easily overlooked in my opinion as an evening of first class entertainment unfolds.
Some of the inside jokes went completely over my head, but this again did not present any insurmountable obstacles for me. I thought the dance with the dolls in Act 2 was hilarious.
If you are a Gilbert and Sullivan purist then this production may offend you, as it does some of the reviewers; if you are looking for a well produced and performed evening of musical fun then this may well provide it for you!"