Notes & Reviews:
Pepusch's ballad opera 'Polly', composed in 1729 to John Gay's libretto as a sequel to their highly successful The Beggar's Opera (1728), never reached the stage owing to government censorship. In 1777, Samuel Arnold completely renovated the score, which established his reputation as London's preeminent theatre composer. With its melodramatic tale reuniting Polly Peachum and Macheath in the West Indies and ending in Polly's marriage to the "Indian prince" Cawwawkee, this "island paradise" opera was a huge hit and remains enormously entertaining today.
"...the performance by the Arcadia Ensemble of Canada of the Arnold version is exemplary. Going by the 1729 edition of Polly, this is heavily cut. There were 71 numbers in the published version; about 39 appear here. To be fair, I am not sure that Arnold himself didn't make a lot of the cuts; he also took it on himself to compose new music whenever he wished. And some of it is quite lovely...Note that you will have to get the libretto for this version on line. The booklet notes do give an outline of the plot."-American Record Guide
"The short-breathed songs bubble with exuberance and unexpected inventiveness and the performances by the light-voiced soloists of Toronto's Aradia Ensemble are sparkling." -The Observer
This is hardly any sort of towering masterpiece, but this attractive recording fills out very nicely the picture of popular English theatre music in the last quarter of the eighteenth century and is readily recommendable.
Recording information: St. Anne's Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (07/14/2008-07/16/2008).
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Works DetailsArnold, Samuel : Polly, opera
- Conductor: Kevin Mallon
- Notes: St. Anne's Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (07/14/2008-07/16/2008)
- Running Time: 4 min. 50 sec.
- Period Time: Classical