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Another rarity in the form of Dorothy, by Cellier. Hitting the stage in 1886 it was not a great success, but once revised it reopened later that year and was a huge smash, running for 931 performances. I usually have a softspot for these Victorian exhumations and generally find them charming, but this one eludes me. Bernard Shaw felt sorry for the cast and deemed it ‘the silliest libretto in modern theatrical literature, set to music which, pretty as it is, must pall somewhat on the seven hundred and eighty- eighth performance.... I did not wait for the third act.’ I’m with him; and only duty prevented me from quitting after Act II – which is just as well as the one memorable tune is the mezzo’s Act III ballad. A comic opera, it really is piffle with its Ye Olde England plot of two disguised young women wooing each other’s boyfriends before everything is resolved. Lawks-a-mercy, such larks, it’s the sort of piece one can imagine Charles Pooter enduring. This is a decent enough recording, conducted by Richard Bonynge with efficiency (it requires no more) and neatly performed by a generally young cast. No new friends for Dorothy here.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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