By Gayden Wren
Written greater than a century in the past and at first looked even via their creators as not anything greater than mild leisure, the fourteen operas of Gilbert & Sullivan emerged over the process the 20th century because the world's preferred physique of musical-theater works, rating moment basically to Shakespeare within the historical past of English-language theater. regardless of this resounding acceptance and confirmed sturdiness, so much books written in regards to the duo have keen on the authors instead of the works. With this designated exam of all fourteen operas, Gayden Wren fills this void. His daring thesis reveals the foremost to the operas' sturdiness, now not within the smart lyrics, witty discussion, or catchy track, yet within the valuable topics underlying the characters and tales themselves. Like Shakespeare's comedies, Wren exhibits, the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan undergo as a result of their undying issues, which converse to audiences as powerfully now as they did the 1st time they have been played. Written out of an abiding love for the Savoy operas, this quantity is key interpreting for any devotee of those captivating works, or certainly for somebody who loves musical theater.
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Extra resources for A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan
The stage manager Sillimon, with his meticulous insistence that “The exact connubial relation of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must be extremely particular,” is a very Gilbertian ﬁgure. Overall the narrative framework of Thespis, derived from Offenbach and augmented by the showy excess of extravaganza, works against Gilbert. In the later operas, loose plot structures allow ample room for both thematic development and comic elaboration. The rigid, “high concept” plot structure of Thespis doesn’t allow for either.
Gilbert had translated some works by Offenbach’s librettists, Meilhac and Halevy, and he had also written parody lyrics to Offenbach tunes for The Princess (1870) and similar plays. He frequently reviewed the French composer’s works for Fun and various other journals. ) He admired Offenbach’s shows for their musical inventiveness, humorous situations, and effective theatrical presentation. Thespis 27 What Gilbert didn’t like about the Offenbach operettas was their suggestive humor. Thespis resembles La Belle Helene and Orpheus in the Underworld (Gilbert’s favorite), in which classical or supernatural ﬁgures are used to bring out the fallible ways of mortals.
Pioneered by John Gay in The Beggar’s Opera (1728) and later standardized by custom, ballad opera consisted almost exclusively of short choruses and solos, strung together by recitative or brief dialogues. 1. Statistical Breakdown, The Sorcerer vs. The Mikado Sorcerer Mikado (original version) Total musical numbers Choruses Solos Duets Trios Quartets Quintets 23 7 11 4 0 0 1 Recitatives Dialogues 10 9 (excluding act 1 ﬁnales) (3 w/chorus) 29 6 12 3 4 2 2 (7 w/chorus) 2 18 existing songs interpolated into the operas.
A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan by Gayden Wren
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