G&S Discography: How to Find Things

Like most web sites, the information in the G&S Discography is linked and cross-referenced in multiple ways. This can, at times, make finding things difficult. This page explains how the material is organized.

Historical Tour
The history of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas on records, film, video, television and radio is told in the historical tour, which starts with the earliest 78RPM records and goes through to the present day. Most recordings are discussed in the tour, and you can follow links to learn more about any specific recording that interests you.

Opera Index
If you're interested in a particular opera, you can go to the opera index, which lists the Gilbert and Sullivan, Sullivan without Gilbert, and Gilbert without Sullivan operas, each in order of composition. Click on the name of an opera to reach a list of that opera's recordings. The web pages for each recording have backward and forward arrows that allow you easily to cycle through all the recordings of that opera.

Chronological Index
If you'd like to view all the opera recordings in order they were made, you can go to the chronological index. From there you can follow a link to any recording of interest. Arrows at the bottom of each recording's web page allow you to cycle through all the recordings in chronological order. Note that the chronological index includes only complete opera recordings (i.e. those listed in the opera index).

Series Index
Many recordings were part of a "series" (a sequence of roughly contemporaneous recordings linked by common artists, issued on the same label, with thematically consistent cover art, etcetera). The series index lists all such series that I am aware of, with links to the section in the historical tour where each is discussed.

Many recordings present highlights from more than one opera. You can reach these through the highlights page, which further subdivides such recordings into the following groups:

Concerted Vocal Highlights Original recordings with multiple singers, presenting highlights from the operas
Instrumental Arrangements Orchestral or band arrangements from the G&S operas
Overtures Collections of G&S (or predominantly G&S) overtures
Solo Recitals Highlights recordings featuring primarily one singer
Compilations Collections of previously-issued material drawn from more than one recording. As there are so many of these, they are further subdivided as follows:
D'Oyly Carte Compilations from the D'Oyly Carte mono and stereo recordings (originally issued 1949–1979)
Compilations from the Malcolm Sargent recordings with the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus (originally issued 1957–1963)
Vintage Compilations from the acoustical and electrical recordings pre-dating the LP record (originally issued ca. 1906–1936)
Other All others

The distinction between "concerted vocal highlights" and "compilations" hinges on whether the material is assembled from older sources, so if you are in doubt about a given recording, you may need to check in two places.

Derivative Works
The Gilbert and Sullivan operas have inspired a lot of parodies, take-offs and creative adaptations. These collectively are called derivative works and have a section of their own.

Sullivan's Non-Operatic Music
The sullivan index lists recordings of Sullivan's non-operatic compositions.

I've received a lot of questions about videos, so a separate video index is provided. All of the items in this index are also in the other indexes where appropriate.

Singers and Conductors
If you are interested in a particular artist, you can go to the artist index. For example, if you would like to know all the recordings that Darrell Fancourt made, go to the artist index, press 'F', then scroll to Fancourt's name. From there, you can follow links to each of his recordings.

Other Hints
For ease of cross-reference, every recording is given a name. For D'Oyly Carte recordings, the name is simply the year and the opera (e.g. the 1960 Pinafore). For non-D'Oyly Carte recordings, the name is typically given either by who conducted it (e.g. the Sargent/EMI Mikado) or the company that made it (e.g. the New Sadler's Wells Ruddigore.)

Some recordings were issued under multiple names. This is particularly a problem with the "highlights" items. Where this is likely to cause confusion, I try to list such items multiple times in the relevant index, under each of its names.

Sources differ on the date of a recording. This is because a set may have been recorded in one year and issued in another. Many recordings are issued without any dates on the package; such dates, even when present, are often wrong. The copyright date on the label may be the date of a packaging, even though the contents may be unchanged from a previous re-issue. My preference is to use recording dates where known; otherwise, the first issue date is used.