The National Musicale Mikado (1964)

The National Musicale Company
Orchestra and Chorus

Acorn Re-Issue
Acorn Savoyard Company

Presto Re-Issue
Knightsbridge Light Opera Company
Lionel Peterson, conductor

Acorn 632
Acorn 632

This recording is one of three sets of G&S excerpts recorded in 1964 and re-issued on various labels since then. No version identifies the soloists, and only the Presto re-issue identifies a conductor (which might, or might not, be fictitious).

Despite coming from Great Britain, the singers all seem to be Americans, a few of whom attempt English accents not entirely convincingly. The souped-up orchestrations are skillfully played, but sound like they were written by a frustrated tympanist. Most of the singing is competent, but unidiomatic, and the conductor takes none of the standard rubatos. The Yum-Yum has a heavy, mezzo-voiced vibrato unsuited to this type of music. The Mikado's song includes the "n-----" word, unusual for a 1960-ish recording.

The patter baritone is the same Vincent Price sound-alike heard on the National Musicale Pinafore and Pirates, later identified as Ralston Hill (see discussion at the National Musicale Pinafore). He trips over his words in places but actually delivers one of the best "tit-willows" on record, full of camp characterization. It is not enough, however, to rescue a dreary recording.

The selections include:

Side 1Side 2
  • A Wand'ring Minstrel
  • Our Great Mikado
  • Behold the Lord High Executioner
  • Three Little Maids From School
  • Were You Not to Ko-Ko Plighted
  • Finale Act 1.
  • The Sun, Whose Rays Are All Ablaze
  • Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day
  • Here's a How De Do
  • A More Humane Mikado
  • The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring
  • Willow, Tit-Willow
  • There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast
  • For He's Gone and Married Yum-Yum

There apparently was a re-issue on the Presto label, with the artists identified as the Knightsbridge Light Opera Company conducted by Lionel Peterson. This is mentioned on the jacket of the same label's re-issue of the National Musicale Pinafore.

Issue History
1964 Allegro Mono LP ALL715
1964? Bravo 45rpm BR 313
196-? Acorn Mono LP 632
196-? Golden Tone Mono LP 14091
1965 Presto Stereo LP [need number]