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7.1 Records
7.2 Video
7.3 CDs

7.1 Records

AdjustR asked: I am about to see a local performance of the Sorcerer in the Fall. This will be my first time seeing the opera, any suggestions of a good recorded performance, either on tape or video, to experience, first?

Marc Shepherd replied: There is only one commercial recording of The Sorcerer in print -- the D'Oyly Carte recording of 1966. The opera was not in the repertoire at the time this recording was made, so none of the singers had played their roles on stage. However, it's an acceptable reading, and the best we have. The CD re-issue is coupled with The Zoo. Gerry Howe replied; Much more than acceptable, IMHO when you have:-

J. W. Wells - John Reed
Alexis - David Palmer
Dr Daly - Alan Styler
Sir Marmaduke - Donald Adams
Notary - Stanley Riley

In this recording Mr Riley transposes the "I did not hear it clearly" lines down an octave - very effective.

Chris Webster observed: I was very lucky to find a copy of the original 1933 Sorcerer HMV set recently and although I know this set and indeed the Sorcerer quite well (heard the records, seen it, done it, etc.(as well as being my current favourite although this changes quite often)) it is only now while listening to my newly acquired 78s that I noticed what I think is another "take on" from grand opera which G & S are known to have regularly done. The similarity I am talking of is the scene in Sorcerer where Alexis calls everyone to witness his rejection of Aline towards the end of act two, and the scene in La Traviata where Alfredo calls everyone to tell of Violetta's infidelity. Although I haven't time at the moment to start the ball rolling, I think for archive purposes some comments should be made regarding the recording mentioned above. This is the only recording to feature artists that had performed in The Sorcerer at the time of recording, as such it must rank as the most important recording we have of this opera, despite being abridged.

7.2 Video

Marc Shepherd wrote: The opera was videoed as part of the so-called "Brent Walker" series. I've never seen this (it's sitting on my shelf waiting to be viewed), but it's widely considered one of the better entries in that series. In the U.S., Opera World has recently re-issued the Walker videos. See their web site,

Tom Shepard replied: RUN, DO NOT WALK, to your bookshelf. This video is terrific. And Chris Webster: Yes, this video is the best full length work in the series. Perhaps it was assumed that as Sorcerer is not as well known as the others there was no point in doing a send-up style production. But Neil Ellenoff: You see. Different strokes for different folks. I was bored by the Video. I really want to like to like this opera but so far no luck. I will keep trying.

Then Gerry Howe: Yes - not bad. Spoiled, IMO, by some very silly and not-very-well-done "special effects" such as flying jellies. Clive Revill (actually a Shakespearian actor but very good in this as well except for some rather dicey breath control in the patter song) is a very convincing Victorian tradesman. A certain Mr Adams is a most convincing Sir Marmaduke; the lady playing Lady Sangazure is good also. The other parts on the whole competently done, though Mrs Partlet's Mummerset accent is cringe-making in the extreme.

And Bruce Miller: This is among the few [if not the only] Brent Walker G & S video(s) which presents the work without cuts, no? As I recall, they even play the entire overture, although it's under the titles at the end with a bonus of allowing us to see what happens after the opera is over? I'm less down on these productions than some of us evidently are, although the cuts in many of them are regrettable; musically they are all held to high standards, but the staging is something else again.

7.3 CDs

In response to an earlier posting from Bruce Miller (See Section 3.3.2 above) Lisa Haferkamp observed: Well, then the worst thing in Sorcerer must be pretty good . . . I might even go so far as to buy a CD. I admit I am rather partial to Utopia (And I like ALL King Paramount's songs.) Oh, well. One can't please everybody.

To which Rica Mendes replied: If you are planning to get a Sorcerer CD, _DO NOT GET THE DOUBLE CD SET WITH MIKADO!!!! The Sorcerer element is merely a throw of excerpts, and ones that make no sense... for example: Mrs. Partlet's lengthy recit, Constance's response BUT NO CONSTANCE ARIA THAT THE RECIT LEADS TO. It's awful. Bleah. Sorry I spent the $26 on it. Too bad I lost the receipt...To which Michael Rice observed: Yes, but what about the invaluable historical significance (he said through puffed cheeks, looking down his nose at everyone).

And Peter Zavon: I haven't seen that CD, but it sounds like the Sorcerer materials may be a re-release of the old 78 rpm album of Sorcerer. My parents had a copy of that, until it was lost in a move around the mid-70s. I recall one entire side was given over to the Partlet/Constance recit, and I don't think Constance's aria was included on any other side of the set.

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