This recording was the last in a series of four by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company to include dialogue. Thank goodness it does, because the performance is fabulous through and through! Patience is a Gilbert and Sullivan opera that receives far less attention than it should. After Iolanthe, it is my favorite. The continuous wit and unfailing music give it my highest recommendation.
The recording quality is of Decca's highest standards (even considering the date: 1961). The performers take it from their. Godfrey adopts lively tempi, injecting real life into this operetta (not as though it needs it).
Concerning the Women:
Mary Sansom is a perfect Patience. "The truly happy always seem to have so much on their minds. The truly happy never seem...quite well." She is never too sophisticated for her role, and sings fabulously. Not only does she hold on to that long A at the end of the Act 1 Finale, but pops up to a C-Sharp wonderfully seconds after. She is not an operatic-sounding soprano, but rather capitalizes on the softness of her tone. This is particularly effective in her Act 1 song, less so in "Love is a plaintive song." Fine performance.
Gillian Knight reaches to both ends of her range beautifully. From a low A-flat to a high F-sharp, this is a Lady Jane to contend with. The other rapturous maidens are also well up to form, though Saphir lingers a bit on her dialogue here and there. The only disappointment is Jennifer Toye as Ella. She is a good singer, but sounds a bit squeaky at times, but only a bit.
Concerning the Men:
John Reed is particularly excellent as Bunthorne. His singing and dialogue come off in a way that leaves the listener with the impression that it could not be done any other way. That is the mark of a great performance.
I was surprised by how well Kenneth Sandford worked as Grovesner. He is indeed Archibald the alright, demonstrating the pain at being "madly loved at first sight by every woman you come across."
All the others are equally up to par. (NB: This is Phillip Potter's debut recording.)
If dialogue isn't your thing for CD performances, it is always possible to use a program like FreeRip to copy the music onto your computer separately. To me, dialogue is an essential part of Patience, and I enjoy the recording thoroughly as is.
One annoyance is how Decca divided the discs in the middle of the Act 1 Finale. After "You're maiden hearts, ah, do not steal" the first CD ends, allowing the second CD to pick up at "Come walk up, and purchase with avidity." Again, with some work on your computer, an addition copy can be produced without this effect.
If you have found HMS Pinafore, the Mikado, and The Pirates of Penzance enjoyable, this is the next step. If you have a different recording of Patience, this is the next place to look, for it is one of the best recording of Patience imaginable.