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Sir Arthor Sullivan: Ivanhoe

Album Summary

>Sullivan, Arthur : Ivanhoe, opera
Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

'Ivanhoe', perhaps Sir Walter Scott's most popular novel, was the perfect choice for historical opera and launched by D'Oyly Carte's ambitious English Royal Opera (now home to the Palace Theatre) where this romantic opera of three hours ran with a double cast in one of London's largest and most expensive theatres, on consecutive nights, for 155 performances. 'Ivanhoe' was written when Sullivan was at the height of his powers, with his typical fluency in word-setting and mastery of orchestration, and it breathes his natural empathy and humanity. This is the first professional commercial recording of 'Ivanhoe' and features a fine cast. The recording is dedicated to the memory of Richard Hickox who was instrumental in getting the project off the ground.

"Arthur Sullivan's Ivanhoe is among the most prominent works on the list of operas that almost everyone has heard of, but that almost no one has heardWhile Ivanhoe is certainly not going to find a place in, or even at the fringes of the standard repertoire, this recording should go a way toward putting to rest the platitude that England was an arid operatic wasteland between Dido and Aeneas and Peter Grimes Lloyd-Jones leads the opera with loving attention to detail and to its dramatic arc, drawing committed performances from the orchestra and chorus. All of the soloists are very fine and several are exceptionalChandos' sound is clean and presentIvanhoe should be of strong interest to fans of late Romantic opera." - All Music Guide

"Sullivan's tuneful score makes for pleasant listening in this recording, planned for the late Richard Hickox, but stylishly conducted by David Lloyd-Jones. A fine British cast is headed by Toby Spence and Geraldine McGreevy, with James Rutherford as the lustful baddie." -Sunday Times ***

"Here at last is a recording...that makes the best possible case for the opera. David Lloyd-Jones conducts with an ideal balance of swagger and lyricism...Anyone who enjoys the serious side of Sullivan, as in The Yeomen of the Guard, will find much to enjoy here" -The Observer

"That this first fully professional recording so clearly outclasses two previous semi-professional efforts is due above all to David-Lloyd-Jones's dramatic pacing... The three key roles are well cast. Toby Spence admirably balances heroic and lyrical demands... James Rutherford as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert and Geraldine McGreevy as Rebecca combine to bring the most out of Act 2, Scene 3 - the opera's musical high point." -Gramophone Magazine

"Toby Spence is an impeccable Ivanhoe opposite Janice Watson's aristocratic, if effortful Rowena. But it's Geraldine McGreevy and James Rutherford, astonishing as Rebecca and Brian, who will really sweep you away." -The Guardian

"From the lively pomp of the jousting scene, with its brilliant double chorus, to moments of exquisite tenderness and passion, to thrilling battles and powerful drama, this recording makes a compelling case for a monumental work that deserves a modern audience." -Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: BBC Haddinott Hall, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales (06/24/2009-06/28/2009).


On for Saint George!
Though it was the lighter music of the Savoy operettas that made him famous (and rich), Sir Arthur Sullivan longed to make his mark as a serious composer. In 1890 he was given the chance to compose a grand opera in English, based on 'Ivanhoe,' Scott's popular novel of chivalry. It ran for 155 consecutive performances, was given five more times afterwards, then basically vanished from the stage; this is the first professional recording of the entire work. The text isn't any great shakes--Julian Sturgis was no W.S. Gilbert--but much of the music is well worth the wait. Freed from the restrictions of the singing actors and small pit band he normally wrote for, Sullivan gives his lyrical side full rein. While he tried to move away from his usual "numbers opera" style, and largely succeeds, the famous character song "Ho, Jolly Jenkin" and a marvelous double-chorus would be at home at the Savoy. The orchestra and chorus are first-rate, as you'd expect from Chandos. Toby Spence (who could surely headline a new G&S cycle ) lends his ringing voice to the hero, and there are two fine sopranos--Janice Watson and Geraldine McGreevy--as the women who love him. The booklet contains detailed notes (history of the original production, Sullivan's use of motifs, etc), and full libretto.
Submitted on 03/05/10 by Jim D. 
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Works Details

>Sullivan, Arthur : Ivanhoe, opera
  • Conductor: David Lloyd-Jones
  • Notes: BBC Haddinott Hall, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales (06/24/2009-06/28/2009)
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1891