I was first introduced to the music (?) of Anna Russell sometime in the mid 50's by way of an LP Album titled, I think, __ ANNA RUSSELL SINGS, AGAIN __. Don't hold me to that exact title, I could be mistaken. Two selections from that long ago heard LP, and which have stuck with me for the intervening period of approximately 50 years, are both on this CD. They are, as you might anticipate, "How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera" and "The Ring of the Nibelungs."
I have never forgotten lines like "You remember Alveric!," and her description of "My Friend Erda, the Green Faced Monster", or her shout of "Hi, Siegfried," all from her version of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Her musical depictions of the characters in the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera section, along with her version of the "obligatory patter song, have also remained ingrained in my memory."
I, of course also enjoy the other 7 tracks on this CD, but nostalgia plays a great part in my extra enjoyment of the two tracks I mentioned above. Her "Introduction to the Concert by the President of the Women's Club" is so exactly on the mark, that you can almost visualize a rather pompous woman standing on a podium and using her oratorical skills just as Ms. Russell has depicted them.
All in all, I think that Anna Russell was one of the greatest, original performance satirists of our age.
Unlike some of the other reviewers here, she didn't "ruin opera" for me. What she did do, is to give me another, often light hearted, way to look at some of the more melodramaric operas, and, amazingly enough, to make better sense out of Wagner's oh so complicated Ring Cycle operas.
In my opinion, this is a CD that should be reintroduced to the listening public with enough fanfare to popularize it.