In this remarkable anthology of historical recordings are many of the great artists of the past. Early cylinder recordings of Sir Henry Irving preserve the voice and character of the greatest actor of the Victorian period as well as Ellen Terry, his stage partner for many years. In this programme, are documented the changing styles of Shakespeare performance - a fascinating study - with such varied actors as Tree, Gielgud, Thorndike, Olivier, and from the USA, Booth and Barrymore.
The second disc is no less absorbing, an entertaining miscellany of melodrama, tragedy, comedy - including the famous extract of Edith Evans' performance as Lady Bracknell and an unforgettable dialogue between Laurel and Hardy. In addition, are some great actors from France, Germany and even Russia - the formidable singer/actor Feodor Chaliapin.