An insult to Gilbert--and to the audience
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 04/18/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a great opportunity wasted. A great cast, excellent choreography, fine costumes and scenery, and a director who has to have "addtional material" added to the dialogue and lyrics to get a few cheap laughs.It is bad enough when the characters on stage show they are aware they are in a play; but unforgivable when the added lines make references to things and persons that existed after Gilbert's day. Yes, I know that Ko-Ko's Little List song was updated with Gilbert's okay. And so was a single reference in "Patience" to reflect the rising price of ominibus fares in London. But the reference to Princess Di in Act I and the tasteless reference to condoms in Act II is the linguistic equivalent of a recent "Ballo in Maschera" which opened to reveal the male chorus sitting on toilets. But at least the libretto was not tampered with.Why do directors not trust Gilbert to deliver the laughs? Why do any G&S to begin with if that is the director's attitude? In Stratford, Ontario, an "Iolanthe" was given with practically every lyric plagued with changes (and even Sullivan's music here and there). But the most that could be said is that the changes were not offensive. Now before I get all sorts of "not helpfuls" from people who feel that G&S needs some pepping up, let me say this.Granted that G&S is not Holy Writ--although to many it is--but when one pays good money for a Gilbert & Sullivan performance, one reasonably expects to find in the bottle what the label promises. (Ditto for most Shakespeare productions also.)I will never play this DVD again unless to show how G&S should not be done. Those who think as I do, be warned."
Creative, Delightful, and Entertaining
Anna | Charlotte, NC | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my very first experience of Gilbert and Sullivan's work, and I found myself most pleasantly surprised. This operetta has a fast moving, smart and fun story line accompanied by brilliant music. There are beautiful tunes one after another, and funny scenes brought up big laughter in theater and at home!
The staging is simple yet incredibly effective and fun to watch. With colorful costumes and creative designs, it provided a wonderful backdrop to the brilliant singing and lively performance by a young and very talented cast. It's pure enjoyment to watch the fun and beautifully choreographed dances that are full of surprises! The two gondoliers by David Hobson and Roger Lemke give the most delightful performances and showed pure magic in their singing and dancing. Although some may not like the updates of the lyrics, I thought it was very funny, when keeping in mind of the year 1989, and adds wittiness to the production, too. In all, this production has opened the door to a whole new world of Gilbert & Sullivan's music for me.
Watching this opera, who would believe that David Hobson was only at the beginning of his operatic career! I am one of many who are most impressed with his performance as Rodolfo in 1993 Opera Australia production of La Boheme. There is a new website dedicated to his career, www.tenordavidhobson.com, where I found the most comprehensive biography of this extraordinary Australian tenor.
I had no problems with the sound effects of this DVD. Like all live opera recordings, this sounded soft because it's from real singing in a theater, rather than produced from digital sound equipments. It's really a personal choice to find the suited volume for oneself."
Z. Yang | Hockessin, DE USA | 01/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this production of "The Gondoliers" for its festive costumes, wonderful choreography, and lively young cast. It captured me the minute I started watching and it made me laugh to tears. It brings joy. Wit and humor are the soul of Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, and they are carried out through the delightful music and the jocose librettos. In this production lyrics and dialogues were amiably given some modern treatment, which, for some audience, adds vividness, but for others, vulgarity. Well, for me, I appreciate its freshness and enjoy every bit of brilliancy on the stage.
While the whole company is excellent, from singing, to acting, and to dancing, the two adorable gondoliers, played by David Hobson and Roger Lemke distinguished themselves with their dashingly good looks and fabulous singing (no wonder the girls fall in a faint one after another). They pair very well and sound very good together. Several years later they paired again in La Bohème, giving superb performance as Rodolfo and Mercello. From comedic G & S to tear-jerking Puccini, what great talent they have!
I experienced no problem with the sound quality. The volume tends to be softer, but on a good sound system with Dolby 5.1, it gives pretty decent sound. Louder or softer, it's simply up to your ears."
Anna | 02/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is truly a wonderful production of the Gondoliers. The choreography and costumes were outstanding. I found the minor updates to the original charming and not detracting at all. The only minor fault I found is that the sound could have been a little better especially in the early part of the DVD. For some reason the sound quality improved after the opening few scenes. I only wish I could have seen this live. Absolutely no regrets with my purchase."