Scottish Opera - HMS Pinafore - The Herald Scotland
THOSE who enjoy giving our national opera company a bit of a kicking (and there are a few) may well point out that it is ironic that the first disc to appear with its name on it in an age is of comic operetta, not from a staged production and exists as much through the involvement of the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC, who broadcast it last year from the Usher Hall. All of which is true, but it is also true that this double set, produced by the redoubtable Philip Hobbs but presumably using the BBC's kit, is not just a mere memento of an occasion I enjoyed rather more than some other reviewers. Where a production for radio would have been much closer-miked, this remains a recording of a live event, so conductor Richard Egarr, the Scottish Opera orchestra and chorus and a fine line-up of soloists, including John Mark Ainsley, Elizabeth Watts and Toby Spence shine more clearly in a musical sense than they did on the day, without the distraction of the compromises of a concert performance. Tim Brooke-Taylor's narration is, rightly, well down in the mix, a storytelling gloss you can choose to ignore it you want. There are laughs, certainly, but they are in the witty songs.