Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



7.1 The Phase4 CD release

Clay Hilley wrote: I purchased the '60 Pinafore CD and enjoyed it very much--except, I found Joyce Wright's (Hebe) performance to be absolutely dreadful. Was this a bad record by which to assess her capabilities? I believe the best Hebe I've heard yet was on the '87 Sadler Well's HMS. Opinions??? Morgan O Day replied: Joyce Wright, a good Tessa in the same year's Gondoliers, sounds like she's about to keel over on her last "And so do his sisters ..." and that is why I have the Malcolm Sargent Pinafore with Marjorie Thomas instead. She's all breath and no body or personality, at least in that song. Spoiled by my initial introduction to Gillingham, I hate when mezzos sound like old ladies when they're playing these pert young soubrettes. At least Joyce made up in Tessa what she missed (on that first song, at least) as Hebe. Don't even get me started on Beryl Dixon. (Or do, please, as you wish.) As did David Duffey: Like a good many DOC artists, Jo's performance was best assessed from a seat in the stalls. What that recording, and her Tessa, does is conjure up a mental picture of her performance from which all defects have been expunged.

Tim Devlin wrote: This CD re-issue has reached the Antipodes, with the seagulls entirely unaffected by the flight. BOTH acts...don't they ever sleep? There are some lovely moments and performances in this production, but the greatest disappointment to me is Farewell, My Own. At the end of this number, instead of producing a grand operatic fortissimo, the singers appear to be tiptoeing carefully and rapidly backwards over the side. Ashley Frampton replied: I was very impressed with Tim Devlin, I have a copy of the Phase4 Pinafore and I never listen to it any more, I find the dialogue too false, I listen to the 59 version or the old Martyn Green version, both of which I find better, the phase4 has a strange sound, I would never purchase another Decca P4!

[At this point Paul McShane contributed an amusing anecdote which I have moved to section 6.2 above.]

Page created 24 October 1997