Accompanist Ray Scott
Conductor (presumed) Meng Shaw
In 2002, the final opera by both W.S. Gilbert and Edward German finally got its first revival since the 1909 London premiere. Fallen Fairies was revived by Newcastle University's Gilbert and Sullivan Society for their 50th anniversary. The performances were given on May 10 and 11 at the Gulbenkian Studio Theatre, and this video was taken at one of the performances and sold on a limited basis. For years, this was the only available recording of the opera.
In place of an orchestra, a pianist performs from the vocal score, which, I felt, could not yield all the charms of the opera. Some of the singing is good; in fact, the programme mentions that Sarah Fairfay (Selene) has been singing since the age of two. I enjoyed the performances of all of them. The staging is, unfortunately, rather poor and the actors frequently upstage themselves and each other; thus some of the words and music are lost.
The major downsides are these: There is a voice in the chorus that stands out and tends to screech, and the buzzing of the video camera (it could not be avoided) when they sing at full volume. Four songs were deleted, all from the second act: "Thy features are fair", a duet for Ethais and Selene, "Oh love that rulest", an aria that was deleted before the premiere and restored later, "Suppose you take, with open mind" (a banal pattersong for Lutin) and "When husband supposes" (another, though better, patter song), all of which are included in the vocal score. The programme tries to excuse this:
"For this production, a number of deleted scenes have been added back at the expense of some of the music hall style comic material written to suit C. H. Workman's portrayal of Lutin, which diverted from, rather than enhancing the plot."
Other than that, it's a fine performance, but the opera still needs a complete and professional recording to gain any additional respect. The video is available on YouTube, and I am happy to include external links to them below.
(private label) "Newcastle University Gilbert and Sullivan Society Presents Fallen Fairies." 2002. Videocassette.