Recordings of H.M.S. Pinafore

Background | Recordings


Pinafore Poster
Contemporary Drawing of H.M.S. Pinafore

H.M.S. Pinafore has enjoyed more recordings than any other G&S opera aside from The Mikado. No matter what your taste, if you want a recording of this opera, there is probably one out there to suit you.

The earliest recording available is the 1922 HMV set, recently re-issued on CD. While the sound quality is excellent for the period, it is unlikely to be anyone's first choice. The 1930 recording, featuring golden age D'Oyly Carte stars in most of the roles, is also available on CD.

The original D'Oyly Carte recorded the opera three times in the post-war era: 1949, 1960, and 1971. The latter two are both available on CD. Both have all the dialogue and feature John Reed as Sir Joseph. Most listeners prefer the earlier recording, not only because Reed seems fresher, but also because the sound effects in 1971 seem overdone.

The New D'Oyly Carte has just recorded Pinafore, with complete dialogue and the "lost" ballad for Captain Corcoran, "Reflect, my child," as a bonus track.

Going beyond D'Oyly Carte, the Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Charles Mackerras recorded the opera a generation apart—musically complete, with grand opera singers in most of the parts. The Mackerras reading, on one CD, is particularly compelling. Also worth a look is the New Sadler's Wells recording, based on a critical edition of the score, and restoring the original finale.

On video, the 1973 D'Oyly Carte performance gives a good idea of how the opera was traditionally given, but some people find it dull and uninspired. The Brent Walker Pinafore is generally considered about the worst of that series. The Essgee Pinafore has plenty of spirit, but is rewritten to the point of being practically unrecognizable.


NR 1907 Russell Hunting Company Acou Abrg
NR 1907 Odeon Acou 78 CD
NR 1908 G&T (Highlights) Acou Hlts 78
NR 1908 Gramophone Company Acou Abrg 78
** 1922 D'Oyly Carte Acou 78 LP CD
*** 1930 D'Oyly Carte Elec
78 1931 LP
1931 LP
45 LP CD Cass
NR 1939 NBC TV Broadcast Abrg TV
NR 1942 Victor Light Opera Company Elec 78
** 1949 D'Oyly Carte Mono 78 45 LP Cass CD
* 1950 Al Goodman Mono Hlts 78 45 LP
NR 1950s Halo Mono Hlts LP
NR 1957 Den Gode Fregat Pinafore Mono Hlts 45 LP
*** 1958 Sargent/EMI Ster LPCassCD
***** 1960 D'Oyly Carte Ster Dial 45 LP reel Cass CD
* 1964 National Musicale Company Mono Hlts LP Cass
NR 1966 BBC Dial Radio
NR 1966 Michael Sammes Singers Ster Hlts LP
* 1971 D'Oyly Carte Ster Dial LP reel Cass CD
** 1972 G&S For All Ster Abrg LP Cass Film TV VCass CD
** 1973 D'Oyly Carte Video VCass
NR 1981 South Australia Video TV
*** 1981 Stratford Festival Video TV
* 1982 Brent Walker Productions Video TV VCass LD DVD
*** 1987 New Sadler's Wells Opera Dig Bonus LPCassCD
NR 1989 BBC Ster Dial Radio
**** 1994 Mackerras/Telarc Dig CD
NR 1994 Der Yiddisher Pinafore Ster Abrg CassCD
*** 1997 Essgee Entertainment Dig Dial VCass
**** 2000 New D'Oyly Carte Dig Dial CD
NR 2002 Celebration Theater Dig CD
NR 2005 Opera Australia Dig Dial DVD