Captures the Spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan Wonderfully!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A MUST for all Gilbert and Sullivan lovers. These three productions recorded live at the Stratford Festival in Canada are all brilliantly staged and performed. Presented here are three full-lenth operettas: "The Mikado" (perhaps G&S's greatest work), "The Pirates Of Penzance" (a pure delight), and "Iolanthe" (After you see this production you'll wonder why the operetta is not more well known.). All three are wonderfully cast, marvelously choreographed, and simply hilarious. Much of the humor has been updated and although most is geared towards the Canadian audience, Americans will find it just as delightful. Even non-opera fans may find themselves pleasantly surprised and laughing aloud at this light-hearted and spirited take on the classic operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan."
A note about the music
Ronald Orenstein | Mississauga, Ontario, Canada | 07/21/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a review of the DVDs, which I have not seen. I have, however, heard broadcasts of these performances, and a word of warning is in order. Many of the reviewers here have commented on the rewritten dialogue in these productions - but there has been little said about the rewritten music. These are emphatically NOT Sullivan's own graceful and apt orchestrations, but rescorings by Stratford Festival music director Berthold Carriere. To my ear, they infinitely cheapen and coarsen the score. This isn't just a matter of reorchestration but of additions, unecessary hoking-up, and elevator-music touches like upward modulations between verses. Such things may be fine on Broadway - most B'way composers didn't orchestrate their own shows anyway - and they may not bother some listeners, but for lovers of Sullivan's music they may be painful to hear. They certainly make these productions unlistenable for me."
Quality performances of classics
baroquelovah | Tallahassee, FL USA | 05/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 3 DVD set is an excellent addition to the library of those who enjoy films of live stage performances. Presented by the Stratford Festival in Canada, these productions do feature updated lyrics by music director Berthold Carriere. Some find these offensive, personally I think they are true to the spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan. They cleverly skewer current (at the time) social and political mores of both Canada and America, which is the intention of Gilbert's lyrics anyway. "The Mikado" is by far the strongest of the three- charmingly acted and well-sung. Pooh-bah steals the show, but musicians will enjoy the quality singing from Nanki-Poo, Yum-Yum and Katisha- sung surprisingly sensitively. "Pirates" features Broadway vet Brent Carver as the Pirate King and Jeff Hyslop as Fredric, both of whom are good. Personally, I find the Mable wanting in the vocal department, having been spoiled by Valerie Masterson of D'oyly Carte. "Iolanthe" is the least compelling, and the "show within a show" stagehands distract from the work. All of the productions are very strong physically- beautiful sets and costumes. This is the best "Mikado" out there, go with the DVD of the Broadway revival of "Pirates" from Central Park for sheer exuberance."
Pure Fun and Frolic
Kerry Blackwell | Pocatello, Idaho USA | 01/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having participated in community and semi-professional theatre groups the past 25 years, I must say that this rendition of Mikado pulls all the stops out and is truly a "feel good" production. I have seen some of the BBC renditions of Gilbert & Sullivan and feel they fall short as their particular humor can only be appreciated on the stage. The actors in Mikado are vibrant, funny and talented. I would recommend this DVD as the perfect introduction to the Gilbert & Sullivan genre."