Karaoke Gilbert and Sullivan (1993)


The Singer's Gilbert & Sullivan (1998?)

Susan McCulloch, lyric soprano
Elizabeth Gale, soprano
Fiona Kimm, mezzo-soprano
John Oakman, tenor
Steven Page, baritone
Richard Halton, baritone

Czech Sympnony Orchestra
The Holst Singers

Conductor: John Landor

IMP Classics DPCD-1067
IMP Classics DPCD-1067

Karaoke Gilbert and Sullivan

This is a two-disc/cassette set, where the first disc/cassette consists of G&S songs with accompaniment and chorus only—the owner is expected to supply the solos! The second disc/cassette has the same programme, except that the solos are supplied. I am no great fan of this set, so I thought I'd provide a review from somebody who seems to like it, Chris Webster:

This is an intesting novelty two-disc set. Disc two may be looked on individually as an excerpts disc, but its main purpose is to hear the songs in preparation for having a go at the karaoke versions on disc one. Disc one features good accompaniments (possibly Sir Arthur's) with chorus, and works very well for the majority of numbers.

Obviously, with karaoke you have to follow the orchestra's lead, which is fine for the majority of numbers but does make it very difficult at times when the singer has a section not sung in tempo, e.g., pauses for "sat-a-gee," Mabel's "Poor Wand'ring One" cadenza, etc. Most people who buy this set would surely know all the items, so the inclusion of the second disc is annoying as it has doubled the price of the set. However, disc one is a great idea, but does require practice for some numbers — I have used the Nightmare Song very successfully in cabaret.

Listening to disc one without joining in (not easy to do) is quite entertaining, as we do not usually hear the solo accompaniments, and the sudden joining in of the chorus can be quite comical, particularly in "A Policman's Lot." Recording dates show that the accompaniments were recorded first (1st and 2nd March 1993) and the vocals added later (2nd April 1993).

A 32 page booklet is gives all the words, and each singer gets her own page with a photo and biography (Fiona Kimm was Tessa in the Brent Walker Gondoliers video), which I would not have thought necessary for this project. Pickwick have also released 'Karaoke Opera' (CD, cassette and video), and 'Karaoke Broadway' (CD and cassette)

Selections are as follows, with initials of soloists (disc/cassette two only) shown in parentheses:

The Mikado
  1. A Wand'ring Minstrel (JO)
  2. Behold the Lord High Executioner (RH)
  3. As Someday It May Happen (RH)
  4. Three Little Maids (SM, EG, FK)
  5. The Sun Whose Rays (SM)
  6. A More Humane Mikado (SP)
  7. On A Tree By A River (RH)
The Pirates of Penzance
  1. When Fred'ric Was A Little Lad (FK)
  2. Oh Is There Not One Maiden Breast (JO)
  3. Poor Wand'ring One (EG)
  4. I Am the Very Model (RH)
  5. When A Felon's Not Engaged (SP)
  1. When I Went To the Bar (SP)
  2. When You're Lying Awake (SP)
  3. If You Go In (JO, RH, SP)
Princess Ida
  1. Oh Goddess Wise (SM)
  1. To A Garden Full of Posies (FK)
The Yeomen of the Guard
  1. When Maiden Loves (FK)
  2. I Have A Song To Sing O! (JO, EG)
The Gondoliers
  1. Take A Pair of Sparkling Eyes (JO)
HMS Pinafore
  1. I'm Called Little Buttercup (FK)
  2. I Am the Captain of the Pinafore (SP)
  3. When I Was A Lad (RH)

The Singer's Gilbert & Sullivan

Wilbur Watkin Lewis reported that the 1998–1999 Hal Leonard "Music for Singers" catalog included "The Singer’s Gilbert & Sullivan," described as follows:

Each CD contains two versions of each selection: one with singer, and one with orchestra accompaniment only. All books in the series contain historical and plot notes about each opera, operetta or show, and piano/vocal reductions of the music. The singers heard on these recordings are top professionals from Covent Garden, English National Opera and other main stages.

According to the catalog, each CD also comes with a book. Contents are as follows:

The Singer's Gilbert and Sullivan Women's Edition (ISBN 00740055)
  • I'm called Little Buttercup
  • Three Little Maids
  • The Sun, whose rays are all ablaze
  • Poor Wand'ring One
  • When Frederic was a little lad
  • Oh Goddess wise
  • To a garden full of posies
  • When maiden loves, she sits and sighs
The Singer's Gilbert and Sullivan Men's Edition (ISBN 00740056)
  • Take a pair of sparkling eyes
  • When I was a lad
  • When you're lying awake
  • A wand'ring minstrel I
  • As some day it may happen
  • Willow, tit-willow
  • I am the very model of the modern major-general
  • Oh, is there not one maiden breast

This is obviously the same material as the Karaoke set, rearranged into a Women's disc and a Men's disc. Seven items from the original set are omitted. Interestingly, the Women's disc includes all voice types, but the Men's disc includes only tenor and patter baritone numbers (the bass numbers from the original set having been dropped).

Gilbert and Sullivan Favourites

Fabulous FABCD 190
Fabulous FABCD 190

The contents of the first CD (the non-karaoke disc) were re-issued as Gilbert and Sullivan Favourites, credited to the Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Ensemble. Stephen Turnbull takes up the story from there:

Dan Kravetz first put me onto this CD, called Gilbert And Sullivan Favourites, a little while ago and I have now obtained a copy of it. It was issued last year on the Fabulous label, owned by Acrobat Music Ltd, with catalogue number FABCD 190 and contains 23 vocal selections from 8 operas performed by the Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Ensemble (if you believe the front of the CD inlay) or the Bournemouth G&S Society (if you believe the inside of it). The track listing and running order were identical with those of Karaoke Gilbert And Sullivan, issued by Pickwick on the IMP Classics label (DPCD 1067) in 1993, and I suspected that they may be one and the same disc. Now I have had a chance to listen to the two side by side I am in no doubt that they are indeed one and the same.

Unremarkable enough. What is interesting is that these performances are not by the Bournemouth G&S Ensemble or Society, but by professionals: Susan McCulloch and Elizabeth Gale (sopranos); Fiona Kimm (mezzo); John Oakman (tenor); Steven Page and Richard Halton (baritones); the Holst Singers and the Czech Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Landor. Some of these artists have a quite distinguished record: Elizabeth Gale, for instance, has sung with New Sadlers Wells and the London Savoyards, and Fiona Kimm with English National Opera. I've heard of amateurs pretending to be professionals, but to see professionals disguised as amateurs is bizarre. I would not be surprised to learn that the artists know nothing of this reissue, and I don't imagine they would care much for it. The Bournemouth G&S Society is a very respectable group with a long pedigree (they gave a very decent Pirates at Buxton this year) but there is no danger of mistaking them for a professional ensemble. The CD notes include a potted biography of the society that is accurate in a number of particulars, including a statement that they would stage Pirates in the autumn of 2005 — the production that subsequently came to Buxton.

I have seen the CD on sale at prices ranging from GBP 2-99 to GBP 5-99. If you already have the Karaoke G&S CD, there is, of course, no point in buying it.

Issue History
1993 IMP Classics CD DPCD 1067 The Karaoke Gilbert and Sullivan
Cassette DCIMPC 1067
1998? Hal Leonard Book/CD ISBN 00740055 The Singer's Gilbert and Sullivan Women's Edition
ISBN 00740056 The Singer's Gilbert and Sullivan Men's Edition
2005 Fabulous CD FABCD 190 Titled "Gilbert and Sullivan Favourites" and credited to the Bournmouth Gilbert & Sullivan Ensemble