|HMS Pinafore >
Review from The Times, 1 Nov 1932. page 11
Conductor: Isidore Godfrey
All the operas in the Sullivan canon have their merits, and probably find some supporters for the pride of place. "H. M. S. Pinafore" came early in the collaboration with Gilbert and has not the full richness of plot of the operas of the Savoy period. Its mechanical "denouement" lends to a poor finale; and even the finale to the first act is not of the first order. But as a whole it is a picturesque opera, with at any rate one first rate song, "The Englishman," sung last night with are freshing plenitude of redundant h's among the rather too refined speech of a polite ship's crew (who, it must be remembered in extenuation, never or hardly ever, swore), and with a pretty point of satire at official utterances. That these were "invariably regarded as unanswerable" was quite comprehensible from so dignified A First Lord as Sir Henry Lytton. Mr. Charles Goulding's honest tenor was singularly direct for the "ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms" which he was. Miss Dorothy Gill's singing is not quite even throughout her compass to allow her to sketch Buttercup's character adequately in her introductory song, and Miss Muriel Dickson is a rather conventional pretty girl. Nevertheless the company understand one another well enough to get a vivacious performance out of their excellent team-work and the rhythmic concessions which Mr. Godfrey had to make on account of words not being quite slick in solos, or quite put together in ensemble, were few.
Mr. Darrell Fancourt's representation of two small "character" parts was a feature of an evening which contained "Cox and Box" as well as "H. M. S. Pinafore." The broader Victorian facetiousness of the little farce of Burnand showed Sullivan writing a richer music than he generally brought to Gilbert's librettos - a little more substance to the tunes and a little more body in texture. Mr. John Dean, incidentally, distinguished himself as Box, not only in what he can do with his agreeable tenor voice, but the tricks he could play with his feet and an ordinary cane-bottomed chair.
This review was submitted to the G&S Archive by Louis Silverstein.
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