WORKS: The Maid of the Mountains
PERFORMER: Janis Kelly, Christopher Maltman, Michael George, Richard Suart, Sally Burgess, Donald Maxwell; New London Light Opera Chorus, New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67190
If you prefer your nostalgia well-mannered, with brigands who behave, a large-hearted heroine and none of that nasty American musical comedy pizzazz, this is for you. The music comes from European roots: Italian and German opera, refracted through Sullivan and Viennese operetta, whose influence is strong in the more Romantic numbers. Four of these were actually written by James W Tate when the show was shaken up before its successful London run of 1,352 performances from 1917, and ironically they became the major hits at the time. They still radiate charm, especially the slow waltz ‘Love is My Life’ and the duet ‘A Paradise for Two’, curiously reminiscent of an earlier wartime hit, ‘If You Were the Only Girl in the World’. Fraser-Simson’s own most successful number was ‘Love will Find a Way’, another slow waltz with more than a sideways glance at The Merry Widow. Janis Kelly and Christopher Maltman sing the romantic leads with the right clear-eyed sentiment, and Richard Suart and Sally Burgess provide expert comic relief, though it seems strange to cast Michael George in an almost entirely non-singing role. The whole affair is piloted with style and affection by Ronald Corp, Hyperion’s light music guru. Wicked!