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CD Review

Gilbert & Sullivan

Decca 473662

Utopia Limited
or
The Flowers of Progress

  • Overture 'Macbeth'
  • Overture 'Marmion'
  • Victoria & Merrie England – Suite #1
The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Royston Nash
Decca 473662-2 139m ADD
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'Utopia Limited' is one of my favourite operettas by the Gilbert & Sullivan tandem and this classic recording is now resurrected in its full remastered glory. From the rousing opening March that really sets the scene, we are thrust into the Victorian scene with several memorable numbers such as 'O make way for the wise men' and the hilariously mocking, 'A king of autocratic power we'.

But the work is not just about cynical satire and the lovely orchestral playing that runs throughout the scenes is truly one of Sullivan's best efforts. The interludes in Act II that describe the entry of the Court and the celebrated 'Drawing Room Music are also miniature gems in their own right. The numbers are too numerous to mention in their quality but this is really entertainment from first note to last.

Decca also add the exquisite 'Marmion' and 'Macbeth' overtures together with the first suite from the ballet, 'Victoria and Merry England' for good measure. The original packaging is not really so enthusing but the CD reproducing the LP label is a whiff of nostalgia that is commendable. Fans and collectors will really not need any prompting from me to add this splendid work to their collection.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech

Trumpet