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An opera in one act by Gustav Holst
A fairy story about a Princess. who is wooed by an elderly Wizard, an Italian Troubadour and a Wagnerian Wanderer, but who falls in love with an inarticulate Fool who is nearly always asleep.
BBC NORTHERN SINGERS chorus-master
STEPHEN WILKINSON
BBC NORTHERN SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA leader REGINALD STEAD conducted by SIR CHARLES GROVES
Producer LIONEL SALTER

Contributors

Unknown:
Gustav Holst
Chorus-Master:
Stephen Wilkinson
Leader:
Reginald Stead
Conducted By:
Sir Charles Groves
Producer:
Lionel Salter
Narrator:
George Hagan

An opera in one act by Holst
Cast in order of appearance: [see below]

(Margaret Neville broadcasts by permission of Sadler's Wells Opera Company)

Imogen Holst writes:
The ballet music from my father's opera The Perfect Fool is often played, but the opera itself has seldom been heard since it was first performed at Covent Garden in May 1923. The members of that first-night audience were bewildered. They were given no programme notes, and I can remember their puzzled expressions as they wondered whether they ought to laugh, or whether they were supposed to recognise some deep, symbolic meaning in the story. My father had no idea that the work would prove so perplexing. To him, it was just a fairy story about a Princess who was wooed by an elderly Wizard and an Italian Troubadour and a Wagnerian Wanderer, but who fell in love with an inarticulate fool who was nearly always asleep.

The libretto is his own. The words are excellent to sing, but there are patches of spoken dialogue which I find embarrassing because they sound like an end-of-term game of charades. Fortunately, a lot of the dialogue has been cut for broadcasting, and the music gains when it is allowed to speak for itself. One can still laugh when the Troubadour's chorus of retainers become 'conventionally agitated,' and when the Wanderer's 'Nay, oh nay! Noisiest negative!' is drowned in a surge of trombones. (Only an ex-addict of Wagner's operas could have written quite such a devastating parody as this.) The orchestration is brilliant throughout, and in this performance Charles Groves manages to convey my father's sense of humour with complete understanding and infectious enjoyment

Contributors

Composer:
Gustav Holst
Singers:
BBC Northern Singers
Chorus-Master:
Stephen Wilkinson
Musicians:
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Leader:
Reginald Stead
Conductor:
Charles Groves
Producer:
Lionel Salter
The Wizard:
Richard Golding (bass)
The Mother:
Pamela Bowden (contralto)
Her son, the Fool:
Walter Plinge
Three girls:
Alison Hargan (soprano)
Three girls:
Barbara Platt (soprano)
Three girls:
Lesley Rooke (soprano)
The Princess:
Margaret Neville (soprano)
The Troubadour:
John Murchinson (tenor)
The Traveller:
David Read (bass)
A shepherd:
Ronald Harvi
Narrator:
George Hagan

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 3

The Perfect Fool
An opera in one act
Cast in order of singing:
BBC NORTHERN SINGERS
Chorus-Master. Stephen Wilkinson
BBC NORTHERN
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Leader, Reginald Stead
Conducted by CHARLES GROVES
Produced by LIONEL SALTEH
Broadcast on May 7. 1967
Fourth of six programmes ot of Hoist's less frequently beard music

Contributors

Chorus-Master:
Stephen Wilkinson
Leader:
Reginald Stead
Conducted By:
Charles Groves
Produced By:
Lionel Salteh

YO YO MA (cello)
NEIL BLACK (oboe)
THEA KING (clarinet)
BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, leader
GEOFFREY TRABICHOFF conducted by SIR CHARLES GROVES Part 1
Holst Ballet Music: The Perfect Fool
Haydn Cello Concerto in D major

Contributors

Leader:
Geoffrey Trabichoff
Conducted By:
Sir Charles Groves

Sullivan Overture di ballo
ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC
ORCHESTRA conducted by CHARLES GROVES
10.28* Ireland Piano Concerto in E flat major: ERIC PARKIN LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by SIR ADRIAN BOULT
10.53* Holst Ballet Music (The Perfect Fool)
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by SIR ADRIAN BOULT gramophone records

Contributors

Conducted By:
Charles Groves
Conducted By:
Sir Adrian Boult
Conducted By:
Sir Adrian Boult

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 3

Sullivan Overture di ballo
ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC
ORCHESTRA conducted by CHARLES GROVES
7.18* MacDowell Piano Concerto No 2, in D minor
ROBERTO SZIDON LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by EDWARD DOWNES
7.46* Holst Ballet Music (The Perfect Fool)
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA conducted by SIR ADRIAN BOULT gramophone records

Contributors

Conducted By:
Charles Groves
Unknown:
Roberto Szidon
Conducted By:
Edward Downes
Conducted By:
Sir Adrian Boult