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Cat. No. CHAN 10794(2) Price: 21 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 10794 - Sullivan: The Beauty Stone
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Available From: 30 October 2013

Chandos CHAN 10794

Sullivan: The Beauty Stone – Elin Manahan Thomas, Toby Spence, Rebecca Evans, Alan Opie, Stephen Gadd, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Madeleine Shaw, David Stout, Richard Suart, BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Rory Macdonald

Sir Arthur Sullivan is best known for his famous collaboration with W.S. Gilbert, a supreme partnership the fruits of which have tended to overshadow Sullivan’s other musical endeavours. The Beauty Stone falls into this latter category. A serious operatic work of epic duration, composed when Sullivan was at the height of his career, it was a surprising flop at its premiere in 1898, though it did have a run of fifty performances. The audience was expecting something more in the mould of the composer’s fleet and nimble comic operas, and was unprepared for a work of such size and seriousness. Sullivan and his librettists quickly made substantial cuts to the dialogue and the score, in the process removing some of the work’s most delightful music, but in this new recording all the omitted music has been restored. The strength of the opera is undoubtedly its many fine melodies, superb orchestration, and excellent characterisation, as well as a vivid atmosphere suitably suggestive of the romantically inflected mediaeval setting of the plot. This, the premiere commercial recording of the work, is cast with some of the finest singers on the British stage today and conducted by Rory Macdonald, one of Britain’s most talented, dynamic young conductors. This release follows the highly regarded recording of Sullivan’s Ivanhoe.

Reviews

“…This recording puts the gorgeous score front and center with superb performances… The music is buoyant and joyous … Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas sings with winsome simplicity and purity as Laine, illuminating the character’s inner beauty with an almost saintly goodness…  the biggest joy comes from the BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales under the direction of Rory Macdonald, which render Sullivan’s effervescent melodies with sheer, smile-inducing perfection.”
Joanne Sydney Lessner – Opera News magazine (USA) – August 2014  

                    *** (Good Album)             *** (Good Sound)
Dominique Joucken – Classica magazine (France) - April 2014      

 

 “…this is certainly one of Sullivan’s more attractive scores. With an excellent cast on hand, there is a great deal to enjoy here, in a candidate for my 2014 Want List. Highly recommended.”

Barry Brenesal – Fanfare – March/April 2014

                                Music *** (Good)         Sound **** (very Good)
Werner Pfister - Fono Forum magazine (Germany) - April 2014

“…There’s some lovely playing from the BBC NOW, particularly in the score’s more reflective moments. This release will please listeners far beyond the Sullivan Society, whose generosity enabled the recording to be made.”

Adrian Edwards – Gramophone magazine – January 2014

                     Performance ****          Recording ****
“…The recording and presentation are admirable …”
Geoff Brown – BBC Music magazine – January 2013

 "... The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales are on great form, inspired by Rory Macdonald’s committed and idiomatic direction... it is an important work offering much to enjoy, deserving of this first-class advocacy. Chandos is to be thanked and congratulated on a very worthwhile and rewarding endeavour."
Graham Rogers - International Record Review - December 2013

"... the music proves it is well worth revial. This two-disc boxed set will be a Christmas must for the great company of Savoyards."
Peter Spaull - Liverpool Post - 28 November 2013

 

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