The Michael Sammes Pirates (1966)

Madge Stephens, soprano
Enid Heard, mezzo-soprano
Helen Landis, contralto
Andrew Downie, tenor
Michael Sammes, baritone
Eric Wilson-Hyde, bass-baritone

The Michael Sammes Singers
Orchestra conducted by John Gregory

Fontana SFL 13031
Fontana SFL 13031

Michael Sammes made numberous recordings in the 1960s of highlights from musicals and operettas. His G&S output (that I know of) includes highlight discs from four operas (Pirates, Mikado, Yeomen, and Gondoliers) and a "Best of Gilbert and Sullivan" disc. The singers are not credited with specific roles, but presumably Sammes sang the Major-General. Eric Wilson-Hyde was never a member of D'Oyly Carte, but he made a guest appearance as Bob Becket, the Carpenter's Mate on the 1960 Pinafore, so presumably he sang the Pirate King and the Sargeant here. Helen Landis was the contralto on all the Gilbert and Sullivan For All recordings.

The recording is not in my personal collection, but Dan Kravetz says that Sammes always did his own orchestrations and assumes that he would likewise have done so for Sullivan. (If anyone who has this recording would like to send me a review, I'd be pleased to put it in this space.) The recorded selections include:

  • Overture
  • "Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry"
  • "When Frederic was a little lad"
  • "Oh, better far to live and die"
  • "Climbing over rocky mountain"
  • "Poor wand'ring one"
  • "How beautifully blue the sky"
  • "Here's a first-rate opportunity"
  • "I am the very model of a modern Major-General"
  • "Dear father, why leave your bed" [sic]
  • "When the foeman bares his steel"
  • "When you had left your [sic] pirate fold"
  • "Away, away, my heart's on fire"
  • "Stay, Frederic, stay"
  • "When a felon's not engaged in his employment"
  • "With cat-like tread"
  • Finale
Issue History
1966 WING (Philips) Stereo LP WL-1111 [not verified]  
1967-8? Fontana Stereo LP SFL-13031
197-? Philips International Stereo LP 6625 007 [U.K.]
6641 243 [Australia]
Two-record set, "G&S Extravaganza, Vol. 3," including the Michael Sammes Pirates and Pinafore. The Australian issue is not verified.