21201  (2CD)

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HADDON HALL (Sullivan)

Sir Arthur Sullivan wrote his light opera Haddon Hall when he was at the height of his considerable creative powers.  Despite his intention to turn away from writing "lighter" works so that he could concentrate on more serious fare, Sullivan's love of the good-life forced his return to the rather more lucrative stage of the Savoy Theatre, and the world of comic opera.
Sydney Grundy presented him with a libretto based on an actual historical incident, namely the elopement of Dorothy Vernon, with her lover John Manners, from Haddon Hall, her ancestral home. The opera was completed and presented at the Savoy Theatre on 24th September 1892.

The reception to Sullivan's music (though not the libretto!) was ecstatic. Bernard Shaw thought Haddon Hall to be the very best of the Savoy Operas, and for a while the piece beat even The Mikado in box office receipts.  We hope that, after hearing this new recording, you will agree that Haddon Hall is an unjustly neglected work of great charm, fully worthy of Britain's most famous composer of the 19th century, Sir Arthur Sullivan.

Above notes extracted from Booklet notes © 2000 Alan Borthwick

CD DURATION:  CD1 55:13 CD2 56:06

AUDIO SAMPLE: Today it is a Festal Day (chorus)(extract)






review extracts: for full reviews click here
[Haddon Hall] is..an undeserved obscurity, as this splendid new recording from the Divine Art amply proves. The score is prime Sullivan; he never wrote a lovelier aria than "Queen of the Garden bloomed a rose."    Haddon Hall......is......nearly flawless.    High praise for the excellent cast, especially the lovely Mary Timmins as Dorothy Vernon, Fiona Main as Dorcas, and Maxwell Smart as the McCrankie. Good choral singing especially, and fine playing by the orchestra. A libretto is included. In an era in which few operas are being recorded at all, much less repertoire rarities, this is a true find, and is highly recommended" - James Canmer, Fanfare (May/June 2001)
During recent years record collectors have been grateful for the enterprise and imagination of Stephen Sutton's aptly named Divine Art label, and here is another winner. ..........the Chorus and Orchestra of the Prince Consort has produced an infectious recording of what deserves to be a regularly staged member of the Savoy Opera repertory. With 15 singing and one speaking parts Haddon Hall is no inexpensive work to stage but listening to these CDs is such a delight that it must be possible to convince the legion of G&S quality amateurs to bring it to life. The Sir Arthur Sullivan Society has collaborated with Divine Art in this project and their number is 01388-710308. This is Sullivan at his best.......... we have a wealth of solos, duets and ensembles filled with drama, eloquence, and sheer joie-de-vivre. Not to be missed" -  Denby Richards, Musical Opinion (Spring 2001)
HADDON HALL is easily the best of the Prince Consort recordings. All of the roles are at least acceptably cast, the orchestral playing is generally to a high standard, and the chorus shine. This is a set that will give pleasure for years to come. There is much to discover in this score, and I heartily recommend it to those who have yet to discover Sullivan outside of the G&S canon. An unfamiliar opera needs a great recording, and I think this is one............David Lyle coaxes a great sense of drama out of the Consort Orchestra......The chorus sing beautifully.   The two-CD set comes with a generous booklet that includes the complete libretto.  Overall, it's a most welcome addition to the Sullivan discography. - Marc Shepherd (The Gilbert & Sullivan Discography)
"most impressive…very professional…...chorus is excellent.. recommended" - FRMS Bulletin
"the whole score is masterly…the soloists and chorus recreate the authentic period style with élan...enjoyable and well-recorded…booklet notes are excellent…..most recommendable" - International Record Review
"The opera comes vividly to life in this excellent recording.. will give much pleasure" - Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (ROSETTE WINNER)