G&S Compilations from the D'Oyly Carte Sets

A Gilbert and Sullivan Gala

Decca TAB 41, stereo, 1 LP, 1982.
Decca KTBC 41, stereo, 1 cassette, 1982.

This tape/cassette contains highlights from a number of D'Oyly Carte stereo recordings, including the 1960 Pinafore, 1977 Gondoliers, 1968 Pirates, Mikado tracks from Sargent's "Spectacular" LP, the 1973 Mikado, and the 1974 Iolanthe.

Gilbert and Sullivan Super Concert Highlights

D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
London 410273-4 LN, stereo, 1 cassette, 198-?

This cassette contains highlights from the 1957 Mikado and the 1957 Pirates.

A Gilbert & Sullivan Festival

D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
London Viva 414000-1 LV, stereo, 1 LP, 1985.

This disc, issued on a budget label, contains highlights from the D'Oyly Carte recordings of the 1950s and '60s.

Decca/London 430-144-2
Decca/London 430-144-2

Gilbert and Sullivan Weekend

Decca/London 430-144-2, stereo, 1 CD, 1990
Decca/London 430-144-4, stereo, 1 cassette, 1990

The World of Gilbert and Sullivan

Decca 430 095-2 DWO, stereo, 1 CD, 1990
Decca 430 095-4 DWO, stereo, 1 cassette, 1990
London 430 095-2, stereo, 1 CD, 1990
London 430 095-2
London 430 095-2. The cover shows Roberta Morrell as Cousin Hebe and John Reed as Sir Joseph.

This album, sold under two different names, offers selections from the following D'Oyly Carte stereo recordings (the number of selections in parentheses): 1960 Pinafore (3), 1973 Mikado (5), 1964 Yeomen (2), 1968 Pirates (4), 1960 Iolanthe (2), and 1961 Gondoliers (4).

Chris Webster had this review of "The World of Gilbert and Sullivan" and its companion, volume 2 (listed below):

These two CDs are very close to the selections on the three original "World of..." LPs. There are a couple of omissions and a couple of additions, and the running order is quite different. The main difference is that all the Mikado tracks are from the John Reed recording (which hadn't been recorded when Vols 1 and 2 first appeared). Apart from the Mikado, all the other items are from the sets we know and love, and not from the 'orrible 70s sets.

London 433 868-2
London 4433 868-2.

The World of Gilbert and Sullivan, Volume 2

Decca 433 868-2 DWO, 1 CD, 1992
Decca 433 868-4 DWO, 1 cassette, 1992
London 433 868-2, 1 CD, 1992

This album offers selections from the following D'Oyly Carte stereo recordings (the number of selections in parentheses): Pinafore (3), Mikado (4, one is the fanfare! all 12 seconds), Patience (3), Iolanthe (1), Gondoliers (4), Ruddigore (2), Sorcerer (1), Yeomen (2), Ida (3), and Pirates (2)

See the discussion under volume 1, above.

The Very Best of Gilbert and Sullivan

Decca 460 010-2, stereo, 2 CDs, 1998
Decca 460 010-4, stereo, 2 cassettes, 1998
CD Cover
Decca 460 010-2

This is a "slimline double" of highlights from all the operas except Utopia and Grand Duke. It is a combination of The World of Gilbert and Sullivan and The World of Gilbert and Sullivan, Volume 2 (both above), with a number of additions:

  • The Mikado: "Here's a how-de-do" and "The sun whose rays"
  • Trial By Jury: "When I Good Friends"
  • Patience: "The Soldiers of our Queen"
  • Ruddigore: "My Eyes are Fully Open"
  • Iolanthe: Nightmare Song, "Said I to myself said I" and "When Britain really ruled the waves"
  • Princess Ida: "The woman of the wisest wit" and "When 'ere I spoke"

There are some minor omissions from the above volumes:

  • The Mikado: The 12 second fanfare
  • Pirates: Poor Wand'ring Ones (the finale)
  • Gondoliers: The recitative proceeding "Then one of us will be a Queen"

Chris Webster mentioned that the date of the Pinafore selections is given as 1969; there was no D'Oyly Carte Pinafore recording that year. The selections are, in fact, from the 1960 recording.

Mel Moratti wrote:

The CDs have been excellently remastered but Dickon Stainer and Bill Holland, who compiled the selection, have no idea of the original running order. "We sail the ocean blue" is the fourth track in the Pinafore selection; "In enterprise of martial kind" comes three tracks before "From the sunny Spanish shore" and "When maiden loves" comes two tracks after "When our gallant Norman foes"!!!

Li Yi-Peng wrote:

This 1998 2-CD compilation of G&S is taken from the Decca stereo recordings that D'Oyly Carte made in the 1960s. Generally, this is a strong compilation, and each of the individual recordings has merits that we need not go through again. Instead of using new remasterings, these are actually the existing remasters that were used in Decca's CD reissue programmes. But, there are some minor quibbles I have that should have been avoided when this compilation was planned.

The most severe problem is in the sequencing of numbers. It is clear that from most of the track listings, the actual running order has not been strictly adhered to. Come on, this is ludicrous! Newcomers won't be able to understand the flow of things, particularly when things sound so disjointed. This is particularly so when scenes that are meant to flow together are broken up and separated. Take Patience, Gondoliers and Pinafore: Bunthorne's lead-in recitative to his patter-song is just severed from the actual song itself. And "From the sunny Spanish shore" is severed from "In enterprise of martial kind" and placed after that song! Worse still is the severing of "We sail the ocean blue" from "I'm called Little Buttercup" and the removal of the linking recitative.

The set does tend to be cheapskate at times. Most of the tracks seem to be just lifted off the two "World of..." CDs. This seems particularly annoying at times when the tracks come from the first volume, which is riddled by murky sound quality when the excerpts are passed through a master with artificial droning. Also, the essay in the booklet is not well-chosen, for the simple reason that it only talks about the pre-G&S years and how the collaboration came to be formed. If this compilation is targeted at beginners, then they won't have any idea about the partnership in general, or the context of each number.

The third and final problem only amounts to a minor quibble. This is because I feel that there was ample time on the first CD to accomodate the songs of the eponymous title-character in the most popular of the G&S operas [i.e., The Mikado], and of Colonel Calverley in Patience. The Patience selection includes "The Soldiers of our Queen," but ends at the end of this chort chorus, without going on to the Heavy Dragoon receipt. This chorus is meant to introduce the Dragoons, and leads on to that song, making it an integral part of the whole thing. It is just like the opening chorus of Pinafore, and the case would be similar in both instances. But since the CDs have generous playing-times, then it would be fair to say that this point is only a minor quibble.

Now to the more positive points. This 2-CD set includes most of the selections that should be an integral part of a G&S collection, and is particularly notable for including almost all the essential excerpts from the operas that make up the Great Trilogy. As I have said before, the CDs run very generously, even despite lacking certain things, and I would say that certain selections are of note. The selections from Ruddigore and Princess Ida made me feel good about the lesser-known G&S works, and I almost felt motivated to wait for D'Oyly Carte to make new recordings of these works, restoring them to a first-night state. I also felt tempted to re-buy their new Patience on the condition that I should accept the opera for what it is. And I will be doing this soon. But nevertheless, I found myself enjoying the selections from these operas immensely.

On the whole, I enjoyed this 2-CD set tremendously, even despite its shortcomings, and felt that it ranks up there with the highlights compilation from the Mackerras series as ideal compilations for G&S beginners to start their collections.

The cover is similar to The Ultimate G&S Collection (below), but the content is not the same.

The Ultimate Gilbert and Sullivan Collection

London 460 371-2, stereo, CD, 1998
CD Cover

J. Donald Smith summarizes this CD as: "Nothing new and nothing ultimate. Includes some dialog (why?) and some very uneven sound levels requiring volume adjustment between numbers." Contents are:

G & S Vintage Favourites

Regis RRC1058, 1 CD, 2001.

This CD contains highlights from the 1949-50 series of D'Oyly Carte monaural recordings. Also issued at the same time was a 2-CD set of the 1949 Trial and the 1950 Mikado. Chris Webster had these comments, which also applied to the 2-CD set:

Regis RRC1058
Regis RRC1058

I went out and got these yesterday. They were 'compiled and researched' by Tony Watts, and I found the section of the notes (by James Murray (?)) that dealt with the artists to be hugely enjoyable and written with obvious affection.

The recorded sound is much better than the dull Pearl transfers, and is very similar to the sound of my own issues. Except Trial which was never reissued on a different label, my guess is that these have been transferred from the 'Ace of Clubs' ('Richmond' in the US) LP reissues.

However (yes, you knew it was coming), despite a note worded slightly differently on each set about them being 'carefully mastered' the clicks and thuds that are typical of playing a vinyl LP are all present and in this respect these CDs are just like listening to the LPs. In the first half minute of the overture there were at least half a dozen clicks.

After this I just skipped around to places that I knew were problematic to see if any corrective restoration had been carried out to these passages and it hasn't.

From the passages I checked out it seems that the Mikado has all the original 'wobbly tape' problems, and the nasty key change before the Judge's entrance in Trial is still there. Also the original LP edits of the four minute or so sections, which were often poor and inaccurate as far as pitch and timing goes in passages of continuous music, remain uncorrected.

G & S More Vintage Favourites

Regis RRC1068, 1 CD, 2002.

This is a sequel to "G & S Vintage Favourites" (Regis RRC1058), listed above, including excerpts from the 1949-1951 series of D'Oyly Carte recordings. According to the Regis website, the works excerpted are "7 operettas, e.g., Iolanthe, Yeomen, Gondoliers, Ruddigore, Patience."

Decca 473 631-2
Decca 473 631-2

The Complete Gilbert & Sullivan

Decca 473 631-2, 24 CDs, 2003.

This 24-CD set includes all of Decca's stereo G&S recordings in one big box — that is, the John Reed recording of each opera, or the earlier Reed recording if he made two, plus Cox and Box, The Zoo, Pineapple Poll, and all of the various Sullivan extras that appeared on the later Decca sets.

CD Cover
CD Cover

Gilbert & Sullivan: Greatest Hits

Decca [need number], 1 CD, 2004.

This CD contains 23 tracks from the stereo recordings of the 1960s and ’70s — specifically:


The Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan

AVID AMBX138, 10 CDs, 2004.

This 10-CD set contains the entire nine-opera series recorded from 1949–51, plus Pineapple Poll, the Overture ’Di Ballo’, and two tracks (Pinafore and Yeomen) from the orchestral highlights conducted by Stanford Robinson. For a detailed listing replete with spelling errors, see the AVID website

Gilbert & Sullivan Highlights & Overtures

AVID AMSC800, 2 CDs, 2004.
Alternative Cover

This two-CD set includes highlights from the 1949–1953 D'Oyly Carte monaural recordings. The first disc contains vocal highlights, while the second disc has G&S overtures plus the Overture ’Di Ballo’. The full list of selections can be found on the AVID website.