Seattle Group Does “The Grand Duke” Proud



A-OLO-Grand DukeSeattle Group Does “The Grand Duke” Proud

Gilbert and Sullivan’s final collaboration, “The Grand Duke,” was created in less than the best of circumstances. Earlier, Gilbert had taken Sullivan and their producer Richard D’Oyly Carte to court (!) over some financial matters that included the cost of a new carpet in their Savoy Theater. When the three were reunited with “Utopia, Ltd.,” it was clear that Sullivan was starting to repeat himself. In “The Grand Duke,” the plot is the most complicated and surely the silliest of any of their former efforts; and the score shows strong evidence that Sullivan was pretty burned out.

On the other hand, Gilbert seems to have “fallen” for the Hungarian soprano cast to play Julia and compromised his libretto by building up her part to more than it could hold. (He did the same with another soprano in “Utopia, Ltd,” and ultimately adopted her!)

I saw a production in New York that cut the text heavily and actually added a scene created by someone who thought Act II needed improvement. The songs are for the most part jolly but not particularly memorable. There is a beautiful ensemble in Act I that recalls the madrigal in “The Mikado” and offers a sort of oasis from the (I hate to say it) pedestrian tunes around it. Indeed, two or three of Sullivan’s worst efforts are found in this score; and I thought it is no wonder that it ran only 123 performances.

On repeated hearings, however, I am getting to like many of the numbers through familiarity. Also, I realize I am consciously or not comparing the score with the ones I grew up with, and this is not nice.

However, the intrepid Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society, true to its mission of producing and committing to video all of the Savoy operettas, did a very complete version of the original “Grand Duke” script and score in 1999. It makes, amazingly, a good case for the work. Granted that the dialogue does go on far too long in many spots, director Hal Ryder accepted the work as written–no current joking references–and managed to bring life into it with a cast that takes the silliness and spotty score and makes it sound good for the most part.

Set in the 1930s (an updating departure for the Seattle group), the plot unfolds showing a theatrical group who is plotting to overthrow the Grand Duke and take over the government. There is much ado about eating sausage rolls, statutory duels fought with a deck of cards, and one character finding himself engaged to four women at the same time. The overly long first act is divided into two acts—a very wise choice. The voices are a bit removed from the overhanging microphones, and a copy of the text would help during the musical numbers, as indeed with any operetta. Two of the songs in what is Act III in this production are not found in the standard text.

I had the pleasure of watching our local Moving Company perform a non-musical version I had prepared for them—and the Keene Sentinel compared it to a Monty Python sketch. Once again, Gilbert was there first! In fact, this DVD has no competition at all. Both Gilbert and Sullivan fans and theatre historians will surely want to own the Seattle “Grand Duke.” It can be purchased through their website at

Kalman’s Operetta, “Die Csardasfurstin,” Brims Over with Lively Melodies

A-OP-CsardasfurstinKalman Operetta, “Die Csardasfurstin,” Brims Over with Lively Melodies

  A csardas or czardas is an Hungarian dance noted for its changes in tempo. “Die Csardasfurstin” is a 1907 operetta by Emmerich Kalman (1882-1953), a Hungarian composer, many of whose works were contemporaneous with those of Franz Lehar, a Hungarian composer working in the Viennese style (that is, waltzes).

Even at the time of “Die Fledermaus” (1874), Hungarian music was all the rage in Europe. So while other composers did what they could to get Hungarian music into obligatory party scenes, Kalman’s scores gave audiences the real thing. Since Act I of “Die Csardasfurstin” takes place in Budapest, the songs and dances are brimming over with Hungarian folk melodies.

Back in 1969, an abridged version was made for television with Anna Moffo in the title role (“The Gypsy Princess” is the common translation for this work, but it is inaccurate and misleading) and it is available on a Deutsche Grammphon DVD. But now there is a complete “live” performance on the Video Land label as given in 2002 at the Seefestspiele Morbisch. The open air stage is vast, the cast of singers and dancers fills it nicely, and the whole production is given a glitzy Broadway style that somehow does not seem top-heavy.

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Emmerich Kalman

The plot involves a nobleman, Edwin (Ferdinand von Bothmer), who is engaged by his parents to the Countess Stasi (Kerstin Grotrian) but is in love with the singer Sylva (Vera Schoenenberg) whose specialty is singing czardas numbers. Although ready to leave on a tour to America, she is willing to stay for Edwin…but of course things go awry. The denouement, although not very original, still comes as a surprise.

Schoenenberg is tall and attractive enough to make a convincing Sylva, while von Bothmer is not quite as attractive as one would wish for the dashing male lead. Contributing to the fun is Edwin’s friend Count Boni (Markus Werba), who with Countess Stasi shares the role of the secondary loving couple. Alas, those horrible body mikes are even more offensive in close-ups.

I am most impressed with the opening, in which the dead bodies of civilians are lying amidst the rubble of some restaurant. Then two clocks turn back a quarter-hour, the bodies revive, and all is jolly in pre-World War I Budapest. Act II takes place 10 minutes before the fatal hour, Act III 5 minutes before. Thankfully, the show ends on a happy note; but the Seefestspiele fireworks after curtain calls might be interpreted in a less jolly manner.

The running time is 132 minutes and subtitles are in three languages but not in German.

A Well Done “Mikado” with Lyrics Problems from Seattle


IMG_20150529_0001_NEWA Well Done “Mikado” With Lyrics Problems from Seattle

There was once a production of “The Marriage of Figaro” that takes place in Trump Tower. Although the concept of a Count having the “droit du seigneur” over any bride-to-be on his estate is ridiculous enough in 20th-century New York City, things are made worse when the Italian text is clearly heard to be “Siviglia” when the subtitles say “New Jersey.” At least, Da Ponte’s lyrics are not changed, although they are totally out of synch with what is seen on stage.

There was an African group at Keene Stage College performing a “Macbeth” set in Africa but the Scottish place names were maintained. Here I would have welcomed a change in proper nouns to maintain the illusion.

All of this is prologue to my column, which is more of an essay today than a review.

My readers must know by now how fond I am of the DVD releases from the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society. On the other hand, I have always been testy about their changing the lyrics—or adding stanzas with new lyrics—to songs or throwing current references into the dialogue. The usual reason is that “Some of Gilbert’s references have little or no meaning to modern audiences.” This I can understand and counter with the idea of adding a glossary of such references to the playbill.

Why is “operetta” an excuse for changing dialogue and lyrics while grand opera (even when the staging is updated) is allowed to keep the words the librettist intended? Of course, Gilbert and Sullivan is not holy writ; but if a group chooses to do their works, they should give the audience what is advertised.

So here is a very good traditional production of “The Mikado,” the most popular operetta in the world, with a good cast, a good conductor (Bernard Kwiram), an inventive director (Christine Goff), and even a bit of ballet (ARC School of Ballet)—all this (to me) unable to ignore changing all of the references in Ko-Ko’s “Little list” song AND almost all of the references in the Mikado’s song.

Okay, every production changes the list song. But take for example a reference to “the senator from Idaho” that gets a tremendous laugh from the audience. This might have been hot stuff back in 2008, but the joke is totally lost to most viewers watching the DVD today. Worse, here and in the Mikado’s song, while the audience is roaring at this or that reference, the next line is being sung but not heard by any one.

Granted that no one, including modern British audiences, knows much if anything about “parliamentary trains”; but, as I say, an explanation in the program notes is all that is needed. And if Nanki-Poo’s comparing the Mikado with Lucius Junius Brutus is changed to Lord Valdemort, I can tolerate that reference despite its being an anachronism.

Of course, when the Mikado asks Ko-Ko where Nanki-Poo has gone, the original joke has the reply “Knightsbridge”—the location of the Japanese exhibit that inspired Gilbert to write this libretto. Today, directors substitute the name of some local place. Here, Oklahoma City gets a big laugh. And I can’t think why.

Setting this aside and the overuse of snapping fans open and shut, this is a well-conceived production with an excellent Ko-Ko (John Brookes). If Dave Ross is physically somewhat less than imposing as the Mikado, he sings well and is allowed to keep two of Gilbert’s original references in his “punishment fit the crime” number. Parker Albin is a pleasant Nanki-Poo, although he does look a bit like Li’l Abner, and Cara Iverson shows a good comic technique as Yum-Yum. She is ably assisted by the other two little maids, Carla Hilderbrand as Pitti-Sing and Annette Dennis as Peep-Bo.

I always miss a good basso profundo for Pooh-Bah, but Craig Cantley’s delivery is good enough, while William J. Darkow (looking much like Timothy Spall when he played the Mikado in the film “Topsy-Turvy”) gets some humor into his Pish-Tush. As she always does in her contralto roles, Alyce Rogers dominates the stage as Katisha.

I am hoping that future productions by this capable group will modify their changes to these works in the future.

Sullivan Without Gilbert Still Has His Charm in “The Beauty Stone”


A-OP-Berauty StoneSullivan Without Gilbert Still Has His Charm in “The Beauty Stone”

It is ironic that Sullivan–who made it quite clear to Gilbert and their producer D’Oyly Carte that he would not tolerate another plot that depended on a magic elixir, potion or lozenge–would choose “The Beauty Stone” as his next-to-last complete work for the stage.

The libretto is about the Devil offering a Beauty Stone to whoever would apply it to their person to bring back their youthful good looks or to change from plainness into perfect beauty. This might have worked had Gilbert written the lyrics and dialogue. But the authors were Arthur Wing Pinero and Joseph William Comyns Carr, neither of whom ever before wrote for the musical stage.

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Arthur Wing Pinero

To complicate matters even more, each man saw the work in a different light–opera, operetta, music drama—each of which called for a different musical approach. And worse yet, neither author was willing to make any of the changes that Sullivan suggested. However, given the stilted medieval-like lines and the almost complete lack of humor, there was little Sullivan could have done to save the day. As it turned out, the production closed after only 50 performances and has seldom been revived.

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Arthur Sullivan

But now we can hear the work in more or less complete form on a Chandos set of two CDs, with Roy MacDonald conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The excellent program notes give a full history of the work and a deep analysis of Sullivan’s score, which the writer deems one of his best. Still, one familiar with his works with Gilbert had best put them out of mind and judge “The Beauty Stone” on its own merits.

The only line that made me laugh is when a contest entrant declares how beautiful her small foot is and the chorus asks that who cares “That she wears a smaller shoe/ Than some other maidens do?” and comments about another that it was a long time ago that she fell in love with herself. The lyrics should have a lot more of that sort of thing.

Alan Opie

The cast includes the not very Mephistophelean Devil (Alan Opie), the handicapped Laine (Elin Manshan Thomas), who outshines all her rivals at the beauty contest because of the stone,  Laine’s father Simon the weaver (Stephen Gadd), her mother (Catherine Wyn-Rogers), and the nobleman Guntran (David Stout).

G&S lovers and students of the musical theatre will find this set a must. Play it first following the libretto, and from then on for the music alone.

“Mlle. Modiste” Anticipates the Early Broadway Musical

 “Mlle. Modiste” Anticipates the Early Broadway Musical        A-OLO-Mlle Modiste 

By 1905, it was starting to be difficult to tell Victor Herbert’s operettas from the musical comedies of that time. Sigmund Romberg’s “Student Prince” (1924) for example, sounds very European, while Herbert’s “Mlle. Modiste” (1905) sounds like early Jerome Kern. The tunes are snappy, the lyrics bordering on intelligent now and then, the plot (alas) just as cliché-ridden as most of the others.

Still, it is so good to hear the score with most of the original dialogue, albeit only on CD, well performed by a company that is turning more and more to early musicals. Yes, it is the Ohio Light Opera that is featured on this 2-CD set issued some time ago on the Albany label. Aside from an occasional line reading that implies “isn’t this a funny show?” the singing is up to OLO standards, the acting is more than adequate, given the lines the cast has to speak, and the whole thing is a lot of fun.

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Victor Herbet

The two “big tunes” are “Kiss me again” (that comes as the last part of what is known as an “audition” song) from Act I and “I want what I want (when I want it)” from Act II. The funniest lyrics of all—and every English teacher should copy them and hand them out to the class—are those in “Ze English language.” (The rest of the show is done without the annoying “French” accents.)

The plot is concerned with Fifi (Sara Ann Mitchell), a salesgirl in a Paris hat shop, who wants to be a singing star. She is courted by Capt. Etienne (Todd Strange), whose family considers her too low for him, and by the pathetic Gaston (Jacob Allen). It is easy to guess which one she loves and which one gets her at the end.

Conductor Michael Borowitz instills good humor into the playing of his Ohio Light Opera Festival musicians and vocalists.

To those who miss memorable melodies in what once were musical comedies and to those who are interested in the development of the American musical stage play, “Mlle. Modiste” is not to be passed over.

Herbert tried his hand at operatic works such as “Natoma,” a tale of an Indian maiden. But the public preferred the bouncy tunes of “The Red Mill” and there we are.

By the way, my comparison with early Kern can be backed by hearing “Mlle Modiste” and Kern’s “The Cabaret Girl,” also available in the OLO series of recordings.

“Ruddigore” is Given Complete in Ohio Light Opera Recording


IMG_20150528_0001_NEW“Ruddigore” is Given Complete in Ohio Light Opera Recording

When Cole Porter’s “Out of This World” premiered in 1950, the critics could not help (I assume) crying down its value because it did not compare with his 1948 “Kiss Me Kate.” So when Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Ruddygore, or The Witch’s Curse” opened in 1887, boos were heard for the first time in their career, mostly because it could not top “The Mikado” of 1885. Not fair, but that’s what audiences are like. So several revisions were made, mostly cuts, for the rest of the run. And the title was changed orthographically but not phonetically to “Ruddigore.” The subtitle was nearly changed to “Not so Good as The Mikado,” but that silly idea was dropped.

When revived in 1920, even more cuts began to be made, the most important of which were the Act I love duet “The battle’s roar is over,” an Act II patter song for Robin Oakapple, and a very snappy Act II finale sequence that led into the usual reprise of an earlier number. Even the Overture, which contained the excised material, had to be revised—and not for the better.

The three D’Oyly Carte Company recordings keep most of the cuts. None of them have the snappy finale or the patter song, while the 1931 electric recording omits the duet, which is included on the 1924 acoustic and the 1962 stereo versions. The monophonic LP of 1952 has even further cuts. Including the 1962 stereo version with Glyndebourne singers and the very complete 1987 recording with the New Sadler’s Wells forces, there are scarcely two recordings that are consistent in what is included.

However, what they all lack is the dialogue. And now the Ohio Light Opera company’s production is out in a 2-CD set on the Albany label, and any Ruddigore-lover’s fondest wish has come true. Not only are many of the musical cuts restored but the complete dialogue is included.

Although it lacks the period charm of the older 78 rpm recordings, the cast sounds just right for this spoof on the Victorian gothic melodrama of pure village maidens (who know how to follow the money), simple village lads (with horrible secrets), wicked baronets (who crave to be virtuous), simple seamen (who are motivated purely by self-interest), faithful family retainers (who become as wicked as their masters), village mad women (who are almost cured by a sort of mantra), and haunted castles (with picture galleries that come alive at “the night’s high noon”).  And one must mention a female population entirely devoted to being bridesmaids during a depression in the marriage market.

The tunes are as delightful as any found in the other G&S works, while the dialogue spoofs the genre simply by sounding exactly like it with slight exaggerations. And, of course, the Act II patter trio is the patter song to end all patter songs. Some say that the ghost music is almost too good for a spoof; but Sullivan is more of a major composer than some admit and must be given some leeway to “show his stuff.” (The next work, “The Yeoman of the Guard,” gives him an entire work to show his serious side.)

My only slight complaint (too strong a word for this excellent OLO production) is that the pacing of the dialogue could be a little snappier. As with all of their past G&S recordings, they speak it very slowly lest a single bit of humor escape the audience. That said, I can find little fault with any aspect of this recording. I do wish, however, they used the original, not the revised, Overture.

The cast includes Ted Christopher (Robin), Cecily Ellis (Rose), Frederick Reeder (Despard), Anthony Buck (Dick), Dennis Jesse (Roderic), Jessie Wright Martin (Hannah), and Sahara Glasener-Boles (Margaret). Unlike the male vocalists in the New Sadler’s Wells recording, those here have the deep voices needed for their characters, especially the bottomless basso of Cory Clines (Adam).

While conductor Michael Borowitz’ tempos are now and then a little slow, he obviously loves the score and even gives an encore of the last stanza of the patter trio.

The running time is a very enjoyable 130 minutes and the complete text is provided in the program notes.

Babes in Toyland

Two More Vintage Musicals Appear on DVDs

A-VAI-Babes in Toyland

Here is yet another  addition, actually two of them, to the Video Artists International series of vintage televised musicals from the 1950s both of which are most unusual.

   Designed for Christmas viewing, Victor Herbert’s “Babes in Toyland” was telecast on December 18, 1954 and again on December 24, 1955 with only two cast changes. Since both were available as black and white kinescopes, the good folk at VAI chose to include both on a single disc.

What makes this production even more valuable is that it is the only one seen on small or big screens to keep to the original plot. Will the beautiful Bo-Peep find her sheep? Will the horrible Silas Barnaby get his wicked way? Allow me to ignore the plot, as I am sure all but children will do, and reassure my readers that the music is the essence. How can one dislike a duet based on a math homework problem?

There are five writers listed who have “adapted” the show to fit into a 90-minute (less for commercials) slot. So allowances must be made by those who know the original version.

Those who lived through the 1950s will recognize in the casts, many a personality: Dave Garroway (Santa Claus in a framing device), Dennis Day (Tommy Tucker), Wally Cox (Grumio), Jack E. Leonard (Barnaby), and even Bill & Cora Baird and their Marionettes. The soprano lead of Jane Piper is Jo Sullivan in 1954 and Barbara Cook in 1955. That provides a nostalgia trip on top of it all.

The highlight of “Babes in Toyland” is obviously the “March of the Toys” in which the show’s most famous music is heard and in which the choreographer can be as imaginative as possible. Given the small area of the television studio, Rod Alexander did a very nice job, using both marionettes and live dancers. In fact, the telecasts produced by Max Liebman make good use of the Rod Alexander and Bambi Linn team.

While the Clown routines might prove a bit tiresome for adults, the tiny tots will eat them up. Entertainers, however, will appreciate the changes in the Clown sequence in 1954 and 1955.

I have always thought that the opening and closing number, “Toyland,” has a slight apologetic ring to it. Asking an adult audience to watch Mother Goose characters does perhaps call for an excuse. (The 1903 original was designed as a Christmas review.) But somehow the song works and therefore so does the show.



“Ruddigore” is Performed with Cuts Restored

A-SGS-Ruddigore               When “Ruddygore” premiered in 1887, it suffered from being a let down from the fabulous “Mikado” that appeared before it and from spoofing a genre of melodrama that had fallen out of favor years before. So Gilbert and Sullivan made several cuts and respelled the title to “Ruddigore.” When revived by the D’Oyly Carte Company in 1920, even more cuts were made and the overture was changed.

The BBC version stars two non-singing male leads and makes even more cuts. But now the excellent Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society, an amateur group with pretty professional productions, has on DVD a “Ruddigore” from 2011 that not only is a great performance but has the most complete score to date on video,.

Drawing from an opera by August Marschner, “Der Vampyr,” and mostly from Gilbert’s own earlier work, “Ages Ago,” the plot concerns a family curse in which each Lord of Ruddigore must commit a crime a day or “in torture he shall die.” I will not dwell upon the scenario (it is easily gotten from several websites). It is the Seattle production I wish to dwell upon.

Original program. Note the spelling.

The voices are more than adequate for Sullivan’s score. On the other hand, some of Gilbert’s dialogue jokes could be delivered with a bit more speed. Petite Jenny Shotwell makes a properly gold-digging Rose Maybud, John Brooks successfully changes from timid Robin Oakapple  to reluctant dastard Ruthven, and Derek Sellers as Dick Dauntless nicely shows how his “heart’s dictates” always seem to work in his favor.

Note: The vampire in the Marschner work is named Ruthven.

Highlights are the double chorus to welcome the “bucks and blades,” the salute to the 4 seasons and of course the fastest patter song of them all.

Dave Ross is a short but villainous Sir Despard (although he could never pass for Ruthven’s younger brother). The priceless contralto Alyce Rogers comes into her own when as Dame Hannah she confronts Ruthven with dagger and sword; while Hollis Heron is properly loony as Mad Margaret. William Darkow makes an impressive ghostly Roderic, and Ron Gangnes’ (Old Adam) basso nicely supports the ensembles.

Many comic touches, not overdone, are created by Director Christine Goff; and Conductor Bernard Kwiram makes the most of the score. I wonder, however, why he does not use the original overture. See this company’s website at for information about ordering this and other DVDs in their catalogue. A warning though. The troupe sometimes plays fast and loose with Gilbert’s lyrics. Anachronistic ad libs are not funny and Gilbert does not need help. This “Ruddigore,” however, is free from that nonsense.

The running time is close to 150 minutes and one does miss subtitles!

Gilbert & Sullivan, Greatest Hits

More Gilbert and Sullivan from Vintage Television

A-VAI-G and S Greatest Hits

VAI DVDs clearly demonstrate that Gilbert and Sullivan were not entirely neglected by American television in the 1950s by issuing the complete broadcasts of abridged performances of “The Mikado” (with Groucho Marx) and “The Yeomen of the Guard” (with Alfred Drake). The former includes 12 minutes of Martyn Green as Sir Joseph Porter in selections from “HMS Pinafore.”

I was taken by surprise by the arrival of yet another VAI disc, titled “Gilbert & Sullivan, Greatest Hits.” It includes four selections from the earlier “Yeomen” and three from “The Mikado” sets, as well as the Martyn Green “Pinafore” excerpts. So much for mild duplication.

There is also a delightful “Gilbert and Sullivan Medley” in which Martyn Green and Cyril Richard share fairly complete versions of six songs from four of the G&S works as they change hats and wigs.

But what makes this set a treasure are the opening and closing sequences taken from “The Ford Show” in which…

Mr. Ford, an unlikely casting bet for Ko-Ko

Well, let me start again. Thimble Theatre versions of “The Mikado” are given from a 1959 telecast and “HMS Pinafore” from a 1960 telecast. Running a breathless 25 minutes each, both are hosted and narrated by—okay, let me say it, Tennessee Ernie Ford! And not only that, he sings the comic leads in both!

As for his narratives, who else would describe a tenor being “as happy as a woodpecker in a furniture store” when he meets his soprano? I leave all the other folksy examples to those who purchase this DVD. As for his singing, he did start as a classically trained baritone before he turned to another style of singing. In fact, most of the singing of the other roles is quite good, and Ford manages to keep up nicely.

As for his acting, his Ko-Ko lacks character but his Sir Joseph Porter is quite good, especially when he sings a refrain in that stuffed-shirt upper-class British accent that works so well in farce. In fact, Ford is far better than Green, who seems to sleepwalk through his “Pinafore” songs.

I only wish VAI had come up with a better title. The one chosen has been attached to at least two CDs to my knowledge and possibly to a DVD. And not all the songs heard here could be counted among Gilbert and Sullivan’s “greatest” hits. But the contents are such a pleasure, why quibble with the title?


Groucho as Ko-Ko is a Thing to Behold!A-VAI-Mikado TV

What to say about a telecast of “The Mikado” from 1960 that is now available on a DVD from VAI? It is part of the old Bell Telephone Hour series and crammed into 50 minutes, once commercials are taken out, and two of the lead singers cannot sing Sullivan’s music. Why bother, since it amounts to a series of selections, only five of which are complete?

Groucho Marx as Ko-Ko is the reason for why this disc will be immensely popular—and indeed why I purchased it for my collection. Fulfilling a lifelong ambition, Groucho put his heart, soul, and what little represented his singing voice into the role—and the results are strange.

His “singing” pays little heed to pitch, rhythm, or what the orchestra is playing; and when push comes to shove, he hits a low note of indeterminate value. But of course, that is the point of giving him the role. As with Hyacinth Bucket, a bad voice can be endearing (in Groucho’s case) or very funny (in Patricia Routlege’s case). The strange thing is that his dialogue scenes are simply not funny. Now and then, he breaks into a Charleston or plays with a fan. But for the most part, he seems not sure what to do and gives a straight performance where one expects hilarity.

The other non-singer is English Music Hall veteran Stanley Holloway, who finds his basso role of Pooh-Bah beyond his vocal abilities. Tenor Robert Rounseville (Nanki- Poo) and soprano Barbara Meister (Yum-Yum) make a good pair of lovers, while veteran operetta star Dennis King makes a colorful and full-voiced Mikado.

Another reason to buy this disc is Helen Traubel as the ugly Katisha. Her contralto is a wonder to be heard and she is given her full solo in Act II. Her great scene in Act I is cut entirely, so her “Alone and yet alive” is doubly welcome. The character of Pish-Tush is omitted entirely and his explanatory song “Our Great Mikado” is spoke-sung by Pooh-Bah.

This production was originally telecast in color; but that kinescope has been lost and a black and white one is substituted. But a bonus on this disc is a 12-minute sequence from another Bell Telephone Hour in which Martyn Green appears in highlights from “HMS Pinafore”—and that is in color. Why Green is costumed as a visitor to the Ascot races rather than the “Ruler of the Queen’s Nahvee” is beyond me.