Notes and Editorial Reviews
2011 Grammy Nomination for Best Opera Recording. 'It will be an historical work, and it is the dream of my life. I do not believe in operas based on gods and myths. What we want are plots which give rise to characters of flesh and blood, with human emotions and human passions. Music should speak to the heart and not to the head...' Sullivan back in 1885 with his ideas for Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe, perhaps Sir Walter Scott's most popular novel, was the perfect choice for historical opera and launched D'Oyly Carte's ambitious English Royal Opera (now home to the Palace Theatre), where this romantic opera of three hours - ran with a double cast in one of London's largest and most expensive theatre, on consecutive nights, for 155 performances, one of the most extraordinary runs ever achieved by any opera. In 1891, anyone in London wishing to experience some music would have had a remarkable choice. Ivanhoe was playing at the Royal English Opera, The Gondoliers was still drawing the crowds at the Savoy, and there was a performance of The Golden Legend at Covent Garden. It is hard to think of another musical personality in the history of British music, other than Handel, who had dominated London in this way The sheer breath and variety of Scott's invention in Ivanhoe is astonishing, and it is one of the most significant operatic works to have originated in Britain. It was written when Sullivan was at the height of his powers, with his typical fluency in word-setting and mastery of orchestration, and it breathes his natural empathy and humanity. Sullivan's career was, by any standards, and extraordinary one, and this was its zenith. This is the first professional commercial recording of Ivanhoe and features a cast, including Janice Watson, Toby Spence, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Geraldine McGreevy. Conductor David Lloyd-Jones who has previously conducted Sullivan works makes his debut with Chandos. The work is dedicated to Richard Hickox who was instrumental in making this recording.