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Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian era partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

Gilbert, who wrote the words, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds for these operas, where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates turn out to be noblemen who have gone wrong. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos.

Their operas have enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still performed frequently throughout the English-speaking world. Gilbert and Sullivan introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced the development of musical theatre through the 20th century. The operas have also influenced political discourse, literature, film and television and have been widely parodied and pastiched by humorists. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration. He built the Savoy Theatremarker in 1881 to present their joint works—which came to be known as the Savoy Operas—and he founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted their works for over a century.


Gilbert before Sullivan

Gilbert was born in London on 18 November 1836. His father William was a naval surgeon who later wrote novels and short stories, some of which included illustrations by his son. In 1861, the younger Gilbert began to write illustrated stories, poems and articles of his own to supplement his income. Many of these would later be mined as a source of ideas for his plays and operas, particularly his series of illustrated poems called the Bab Ballads.
In the Bab Ballads and his early plays, Gilbert developed a unique "topsy-turvy" style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. Director and playwright Mike Leigh described the "Gilbertian" style as follows:

Gilbert developed his innovative theories on the art of stage direction, following theatrical reformer Tom Robertson. At the time Gilbert began writing, theatre in Britain was in disrepute. Gilbert helped to reform and elevate the respectability of the theatre, especially beginning with his six short family-friendly comic operas, or "entertainments," for Thomas German Reed.

At a rehearsal for one of these entertainments, Ages Ago (1869), the composer Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to his friend, the young composer Arthur Sullivan. Two years later, Gilbert and Sullivan would write their first work together. Those two intervening years continued to shape Gilbert's theatrical style. He continued to write humorous verse, stories and plays, including the comic operas Our Island Home (1870) and A Sensation Novel (1871), and the blank verse comedies The Princess (1870), The Palace of Truth (1870), and Pygmalion and Galatea.

Sullivan before Gilbert

Sullivan was born in London on 13 May 1842. His father was a military bandmaster, and by the time Arthur had reached the age of 8, he was proficient with all the instruments in the band. In school he began to compose anthems and songs. In 1856, he received the first Mendelssohn Prize and studied at the Royal Academy of Musicmarker and at Leipzigmarker, where he also took up conducting. His graduation piece, completed in 1861, was a suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest. Revised and expanded, it was performed at the Crystal Palacemarker in 1862 and was an immediate sensation. He began building a reputation as England's most promising young composer, composing a symphony, a concerto, and several overtures, among them the Overture di Ballo, in 1870.

His early major works for the voice included The Masque at Kenilworth (1864); an oratorio, The Prodigal Son (1869); and a dramatic cantata, On Shore and Sea (1871). He composed a ballet, L'Île Enchantée (1864) and incidental music for a number of Shakespeare plays. Other early pieces that were praised were his Symphony in E, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, and Overture in C (all three of which premiered in 1866). These commissions, however, were not sufficient to keep Sullivan afloat. He worked as a church organist and composed numerous hymns, popular songs, and parlour ballads.

Sullivan's first foray into comic opera was Cox and Box (1866), written with librettist F. C. Burnand for an informal gathering of friends. Public performance followed, with W. S. Gilbert (then writing dramatic criticism for Fun) saying that Sullivan's score "is, in many places, of too high a class for the grotesquely absurd plot to which it is wedded." Nonetheless, it proved highly successful, and is still regularly performed today. Sullivan and Burnand's second opera, The Contrabandista (1867) was not as successful.


First collaborations


1871, producer John Hollingshead brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to produce a Christmas entertainment, Thespis, at his Gaiety Theatremarker, a large West Endmarker house. The piece was an extravaganza in which the classical Greek gods, grown elderly, are temporarily replaced by a troupe of 19th-century actors and actresses, one of whom is the eponymous Thespis, the Greek father of the drama. Its mixture of political satire and grand opera parody mimicked Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld and La belle Hélène, which (in translation) then dominated the English musical stage.

Thespis opened on Boxing Day and ran for 63 performances. It outran five of its nine competitors for the 1871 holiday season, but no one at the time anticipated that this was the beginning of a great collaboration. Unlike the later G&S works, it was hastily prepared, and its nature was more risqué, like Gilbert's earlier travesties, with a broader style of comedy that allowed for improvisation by the actors. Two of the male characters were played by women, whose shapely legs were put on display in a fashion that Gilbert later condemned. The musical score to Thespis was never published and is now lost, except for one song that was published separately, a chorus that was re-used in The Pirates of Penzance, and the Act II ballet.

Over the next four years, Gilbert and Sullivan did not have occasion to work together again, but each man became more eminent in his field. Gilbert worked with Clay on Happy Arcadia (1872) and with Alfred Cellier on Topsyturveydom (1874), as well as writing several other libretti, farces, extravaganzas, fairy comedies, dramas, adaptations from novels, and translations from the French. Sullivan completed his Festival Te Deum (1872); another oratorio, The Light of the World (1873); his only song cycle, The Window; or, The Song of the Wrens (1871); incidental music to The Merry Wives of Windsor (1874); and more songs, parlour ballads, and hymns, including "Onward, Christian Soldiers" (1872).

Trial by Jury

In 1874, Gilbert wrote a short libretto on commission from producer–composer Carl Rosa, whose wife would have played the leading role, but her death in childbirth cancelled the project. Not long afterwards, Richard D'Oyly Carte was managing the Royalty Theatremarker, and he needed a short opera to be played as an afterpiece to Offenbach's La Périchole. Gilbert already had available the libretto he had written for Rosa, and Carte suggested that Sullivan write the score. The composer was delighted with it, and Trial by Jury was composed in a matter of weeks.
The piece is one of Gilbert's humorous spoofs of the law and the legal profession, based on his short experience as a barrister. It concerns a breach of promise of marriage suit. The defendant argues that damages should be slight, since "he is such a very bad lot," while the plaintiff argues that she loves the defendant fervently and seeks "substantial damages." After much argument, the judge resolves the case by marrying the lovely plaintiff himself. With Sullivan's brother, Fred, as the Learned Judge, the opera was a runaway hit, outlasting the run of La Périchole. Provincial tours and productions at other theatres quickly followed.

Fred Sullivan was the prototype for the "patter" (comic) baritone roles in the later operas. F. C. Burnand wrote that he "was one of the most naturally comic little men I ever came across. He, too, was a first-rate practical musician... As he was the most absurd person, so was he the very kindliest..." Fred's creation would serve as a model for the rest of the collaborators' works, and each of them has a crucial comic little man role, as Burnand had put it. The "patter" baritone (or "principal comedian", as these roles later were called) would often assume the leading role in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas, and was usually allotted the speedy patter songs.

After the success of Trial by Jury, Gilbert and Sullivan were suddenly in demand to write more operas together. Over the next two years, Richard D'Oyly Carte was one of several theatrical managers who negotiated with the team but were unable to come to terms. Carte also proposed a revival of Thespis for the 1875 Christmas season, which Gilbert and Sullivan would have revised, but he was unable to obtain financing for the project.

Early successes

The Sorcerer

Carte's real ambition was to develop an English form of light opera that would displace the bawdy burlesques and badly translated French operettas then dominating the London stage. He assembled a syndicate and formed the Comedy Opera Company, with Gilbert and Sullivan commissioned to write a comic opera that would serve as the centrepiece for an evening's entertainment.

An early poster showing scenes from The Sorcerer, Pinafore, and Trial by Jury
Gilbert found a subject in one of his own short stories, "The Elixir of Love," which concerned the complications arising when a love potion is distributed to all the residents of a small village. The leading character was a Cockney businessman who happened to be a sorcerer, a purveyor of blessings (not much called for) and curses (very popular). Gilbert and Sullivan were tireless taskmasters, seeing to it that The Sorcerer opened as a fully polished production, in marked contrast to the under-rehearsed Thespis. While The Sorcerer won critical acclaim, it did not duplicate the success of Trial by Jury. Nevertheless, Carte and his syndicate were sufficiently encouraged to commission another full-length opera from the team.

H.M.S. Pinafore

Gilbert and Sullivan scored their first international hit with H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), satirising the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority and poking good-natured fun at the Royal Navy and the English obsession with social status (building on a theme introduced in The Sorcerer, love between members of different social classes). As with many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise twist changes everything dramatically near the end of the story.

Gilbert oversaw the designs of sets and costumes, and he directed the performers on stage. He sought realism in acting, shunned self-conscious interaction with the audience, and insisted on a standard of characterisation where the characters were never aware of their own absurdity. Gilbert insisted that his actors know their words perfectly and obey his stage directions, which was something new to many actors of the day. Sullivan personally oversaw the musical preparation. The result was a new crispness and polish in the English musical theatre. As Jessie Bond wrote later:

H.M.S. Pinafore ran in London for 571 performances, the second longest run of any musical theatre piece in history up to that time (after the operetta Les cloches de Corneville). Hundreds of unauthorized, or "pirated", productions of Pinafore appeared in America. During the run of Pinafore, Richard D'Oyly Carte split up with his former investors. The disgruntled former partners, who had each invested in the production with no return, staged a public fracas, sending a group of thugs to seize the scenery during a performance. Stagehands successfully managed to ward off their backstage attackers. This event cleared the way for Carte, Gilbert and Sullivan to form the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which then produced all of their succeeding operas.

The Pirate King
The libretto of H.M.S. Pinafore relied on stock character types, many of which were familiar from European opera (and some of which grew out of Gilbert's earlier association with the German Reeds): the heroic protagonist (tenor) and his love-interest (soprano); the older woman with a secret or a sharp tongue (contralto); the baffled lyric baritone—the girl's father; and a classic villain (bass-baritone). Gilbert and Sullivan added the element of the comic patter-singing character. With the success of H.M.S. Pinafore, the D'Oyly Carte repertory and production system was cemented, and each opera would make use of these stock character types. Before The Sorcerer, Gilbert had constructed his plays around the established stars of whatever theatre he happened to be writing for, as had been the case with Thespis and Trial by Jury. Building on the team he had assembled for The Sorcerer, Gilbert no longer hired stars; he created them. He and Sullivan selected the performers, writing their operas for ensemble casts rather than individual stars.

The repertory system ensured that the comic patter character who performed the role of the sorcerer, John Wellington Wells, would become the ruler of the Queen's navy as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore, then join the army as Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, and so on. Similarly, Mrs. Partlet in The Sorcerer transformed into Little Buttercup in Pinafore, then into Ruth, the piratical maid-of-all-work in Pirates. Relatively unknown performers whom Gilbert and Sullivan engaged early in the collaboration would stay with the company for many years, becoming stars of the Victorian stage. These included George Grossmith, the principal comic; Rutland Barrington, the lyric baritone; Richard Temple, the bass-baritone; and Jessie Bond, the mezzo-soprano soubrette.

The Pirates of Penzance

The Pirates of Penzance (New Year's Eve, 1879), conceived in a fit of pique at the Americanmarker copyright pirates, also poked fun at grand opera conventions, sense of duty, family obligation, the "respectability" of civilisation and the peerage, and the relevance of a liberal education. The story also revisits Pinafore's theme of unqualified people in positions of authority, in the person of the "modern Major-General" who has up-to-date knowledge about everything except the military. The Major-General and his many daughters escape from the tender-hearted Pirates of Penzance, who are all orphans, on the false plea that he is an orphan himself. The pirates learn of the deception and re-capture the Major-General, but when it is revealed that the pirates are all peers, the Major-General bids them: "resume your ranks and legislative duties, and take my daughters, all of whom are beauties!"

The piece premiered first in New York rather than London, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to secure the American copyright, and was another big success with both critics and audiences. Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte tried for many years to control the American performance copyrights over their operas, without success. Nevertheless, Pirates was a hit both in New York, again spawning numerous imitators, and then in London, and it became one of the most frequently performed, translated and parodied Gilbert and Sullivan works, also enjoying a successful 1981 Broadwaymarker revival by Joseph Papp.

In 1880, Sullivan wrote the cantata The Martyr of Antioch, presented at the Leedsmarker Triennial Music Festival, with a libretto modified by Gilbert from an 1822 epic poem by Henry Hart Milman concerning the martyrdom of St. Margaret of Antioch in the 3rd century. Sullivan became the conductor of the Leeds festival beginning in 1880 and conducted the performance. It could be said that Martyr was the 15th opera of the partnership, since the Carl Rosa Opera Company presented the work as an opera in 1898.

Savoy Theatre opens


Patience (1881) satirised the aesthetic movement in general and its colourful poets, in particular, combining aspects of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, James McNeill Whistler and others in the rival poets Bunthorne and Grosvenor. Grossmith, who created the role of Bunthorne, based his makeup, wig and costume on Swinburne and especially Whistler, as seen in the adjacent photo. The work also lampoons male vanity and chauvinism in the military. The story concerns two rival "aesthetic" poets, who attract the attention of the young ladies of the village, who had been engaged to the members of a cavalry regiment. But the two poets are each in love with Patience, the village milkmaid, who detests one of them and feels that it is her duty to avoid the other despite her love for him. Richard D'Oyly Carte was the booking manager for Oscar Wilde, a then lesser-known proponent of aestheticism, and dispatched Wilde on an American lecture tour in conjunction with the opera's U.S. run, so that American audiences might better understand what the satire was all about.

During the run of Patience, Carte built the large, modern Savoy Theatremarker, which became the partnership's permanent home. It was the first theatre (indeed the world's first public building) to be lit entirely by electric lighting. Patience moved into the Savoy after six months at the Opera Comique and ran for a total of 578 performances, surpassing the run of H.M.S. Pinafore and becoming the second longest-running work of musical theatre up to that time in history.


Iolanthe (1882) was the first of the operas to open at the Savoy. The fully electric Savoy made possible numerous special effects, such as sparkling magic wands for the female chorus of fairies. The opera poked fun at English law and the House of Lordsmarker and made much of the war between the sexes. The critics felt that Sullivan's work in Iolanthe had taken a step forward. The Daily Telegraph wrote, "The composer has risen to his opportunity, and we are disposed to account Iolanthe his best effort in all the Gilbertian series." Similarly, the Theatre asserted that "the music of Iolanthe is Dr Sullivan's chef d'oeuvre. The quality throughout is more even, and maintained at a higher standard, than in any of his earlier works..."

Iolanthe is one of a number of Gilbert's works, including The Wicked World (1873), Broken Hearts (1875), Princess Ida (1884) and Fallen Fairies (1909), where the introduction of men and "mortal love" into a tranquil world of women wreaks havoc with the status quo. Gilbert had created several "fairy comedies" at the Haymarket Theatremarker in the early 1870s. These plays, influenced by the fairy work of James Planché, are founded upon the idea of self-revelation by characters under the influence of some magic or some supernatural interference.

In 1882, Gilbert had a telephone installed in his home and at the prompt desk at the Savoy Theatre so that he could monitor performances and rehearsals from his home study. Gilbert had referred to the new technology in Pinafore in 1878, only two years after the device was invented and before London even had telephone service. Sullivan had one installed as well, and on 13 May 1883, at a party to celebrate the composer's 41st birthday, the guests, including the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), heard a direct relay of parts of Iolanthe from the Savoy. This was probably the first live "broadcast" of an opera.

During the run of Iolanthe, in 1883, Sullivan was knight by Queen Victoria. Although it was the operas with Gilbert that had earned him the broadest fame, the honour was conferred for his services to serious music. The musical establishment, and many critics, believed that this should put an end to his career as a composer of comic opera—that a musical knight should not stoop below oratorio or grand opera. Sullivan, despite the financial security of writing for the Savoy, increasingly viewed his work with Gilbert as unimportant, beneath his skills, and repetitious. Furthermore, he was unhappy that he had to simplify his music to ensure that Gilbert's words could be heard. But paradoxically, in February 1883, just after Iolanthe opened, Sullivan had signed a five-year agreement with Gilbert and Carte requiring him to produce a new comic opera on six months' notice.

Princess Ida

Princess Ida forswears the world of men
Princess Ida (1884) spoofed women's education and male chauvinism and continued the theme from Iolanthe of the war between the sexes. The opera is based on Tennyson's poem The Princess: A Medley. Gilbert had written a blank verse farce based on the same material in 1870, called The Princess, and he reused a good deal of the dialogue from his earlier play in the libretto of Princess Ida. Ida is the only Gilbert and Sullivan work with dialogue entirely in blank verse and is also the only one of their works in three acts. Lillian Russell had been engaged to create the title role, but Gilbert did not believe that she was dedicated enough, and when she missed a rehearsal, she was dismissed.

Princess Ida was the first of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas that, by the partnership's previous standards, was not a success. A particularly hot summer in London did not help ticket sales. The piece ran for a comparatively short 246 performances and was not revived in London until 1919. Sullivan had been satisfied with the libretto, but two months after Ida opened, Sullivan told Carte that "it is impossible for me to do another piece of the character of those already written by Gilbert and myself." As Princess Ida showed signs of flagging, Carte realized that, for the first time in the partnership's history, no new opera would be ready when the old one closed. On 22 March 1884, he gave Gilbert and Sullivan contractual notice that a new opera would be required in six months' time. In the meantime, when Ida closed, Carte produced a revival of The Sorcerer.

Dodging the magic lozenge

The Mikado

The most successful of the Savoy Operas was The Mikado (1885), which made fun of English bureaucracy, thinly disguised by a Japanese setting. Gilbert initially proposed a story for a new opera about a magic lozenge that would change the characters, which Sullivan found artificial and lacking in "human interest and probability", as well as being too similar to their earlier opera, The Sorcerer. As dramatised in the film Topsy-Turvy, the author and composer were at an impasse until 8 May 1884, when Gilbert dropped the lozenge idea and agreed to provide a libretto without any supernatural elements.

Lithograph of the "Three Little Maids" from The Mikado
The story focuses on a "cheap tailor," Ko-Ko, who is promoted to the position of Lord High Executioner of the town of Titipu. Ko-Ko loves his ward, Yum-Yum, but she loves a musician, who is really the son of the emperor of Japan (the Mikado), and who is in disguise to escape the attentions of the elderly and amorous Katisha. The Mikado has decreed that executions must resume without delay in Titipu. When news arrives that the Mikado will be visiting the town, Ko-Ko assumes that he is coming to ascertain whether Ko-Ko has carried out the executions. Too timid to execute anyone, Ko-Ko cooks up a conspiracy to misdirect the Mikado, which goes awry. Eventually, Ko-Ko must persuade Katisha to marry him, in order to save his own life and the lives of the other conspirators.

With the opening of trade between England and Japan, Japanese imports, art and styles became fashionable in London, making the time ripe for an opera set in Japan. Gilbert said,

Setting the opera in Japanmarker, an exotic locale far away from Britain, allowed Gilbert and Sullivan to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by clothing them in superficial Japanese trappings. Gilbert wrote, "The Mikado of the opera was an imaginary monarch of a remote period and cannot by any exercise of ingenuity be taken to be a slap on an existing institution." G. K. Chesterton compared it to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels: "Gilbert pursued and persecuted the evils of modern England till they had literally not a leg to stand on, exactly as Swift did... I doubt if there is a single joke in the whole play that fits the Japanese. But all the jokes in the play fit the English... About England Pooh-bah is something more than a satire; he is the truth." Several of the later operas are similarly set in foreign or fictional locales, including The Gondoliers, Utopia Limited, and The Grand Duke.

The Mikado became the partnership's longest-running hit, enjoying 672 performances at the Savoy Theatre, which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre (surpassing the 571 performances of Pinafore and 576 of Patience) and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. The Mikado remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera. It has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history.


Ruddigore (1887), a topsy-turvy take on Victorian melodrama, was less successful than most of the earlier collaborations with a run of 288 performances. The original title, Ruddygore, together with some of the plot devices, including the revivification of ghosts, drew negative comments from critics. Gilbert and Sullivan respelled the title and made a number of changes and cuts. Nevertheless, the piece was profitable, and the reviews were not all bad. For instance, the Illustrated London News praised the work and both Gilbert and, especially, Sullivan: "Sir Arthur Sullivan has eminently succeeded alike in the expression of refined sentiment and comic humour. In the former respect, the charm of graceful melody prevails; while, in the latter, the music of the most grotesque situations is redolent of fun." Further changes were made, including a new overture, when Rupert D'Oyly Carte revived Ruddigore after the First World War, and the piece was regularly performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company thereafter.

Some of the plot elements of Ruddigore were introduced by Gilbert in his earlier one-act opera, Ages Ago (1869), including the tale of the wicked ancestor and the device of the ghostly ancestors stepping out of their portraits. When Ruddigore closed, no new opera was ready. Gilbert again proposed a version of the "lozenge" plot for their next opera, and Sullivan reiterated his desire to leave the partnership. While the two men worked out their artistic differences, Carte produced revivals of such old favourites as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.

The Yeomen of the Guard

The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), their only joint work with a serious ending, concerns a pair of strolling players—a jester and a singing girl—who are caught up in a risky intrigue at the Tower of Londonmarker during the 16th century. The dialogue, though in prose, is quasi-early modern English, in style, and there is no satire of British institutions. For some of the plot elements, Gilbert had reached back to his 1875 tragedy, Broken Hearts. The Times praised the libretto: "It should... be acknowledged that Mr. Gilbert has earnestly endeavoured to leave familiar grooves and rise to higher things." Although not a grand opera, the new libretto provided Sullivan with the opportunity to write his most ambitious score to date. The critics, who had recently lauded the composer for his successful oratorio, The Golden Legend, considered the score to Yeomen to be Sullivan's finest, including its overture, which was written in sonata form, rather than as a sequential pot-pourri of tunes from the opera, as in most of his other overtures. The Daily Telegraph wrote:

Yeomen was a hit, running for over a year, with strong New York and touring productions. During the run, on 12 March 1889, Sullivan wrote to Gilbert,

Sullivan insisted that the next opera must be a grand opera. Gilbert did not feel that he could write a grand opera libretto, but he offered a compromise that Sullivan ultimately accepted. The two would write a light opera for the Savoy, and at the same time, Sullivan a grand opera (Ivanhoe) for a new theatre that Carte was constructing to present British grand opera. After a brief impasse over the choice of subject, Sullivan accepted an idea connected with Venicemarker and Venetian life, as "this seemed to me to hold out great chances of bright colour and taking music."

The Gondoliers

The Gondoliers (1889) takes place partly in Venice and partly in a kingdom ruled by a pair of gondoliers who attempt to remodel the monarchy in a spirit of "republican equality." Gilbert recapitulates a number of his earlier themes, including the satire of class distinctions figuring in many of his earlier librettos. The libretto also reflects Gilbert's fascination with the "Stock Company Act", highlighting the absurd convergence of natural persons and legal entities, which plays an even larger part in the next opera, Utopia Limited. Press accounts were almost entirely favourable. The Illustrated London News reported:

Sullivan's old collaborator on Cox and Box (later the editor of Punch magazine), F. C. Burnand, wrote to the composer: "Magnificento!...I envy you and W.S.G. being able to place a piece like this on the stage in so complete a fashion." The opera enjoyed a run longer than any of their other joint works except for H.M.S. Pinafore, Patience and The Mikado. There was a command performance of The Gondoliers for Queen Victoria and the royal family at Windsor Castlemarker in 1891, the first Gilbert and Sullivan opera to be so honoured. The Gondoliers was Gilbert and Sullivan's last great success.

Carpet quarrel

Gilbert and Sullivan sometimes had a strained working relationship, partly caused by the fact that each man saw himself allowing his work to be subjugated to the other's, and partly caused by the opposing personalities of the two—Gilbert was often confrontational and notoriously thin-skinned (though prone to acts of extraordinary kindness), while Sullivan eschewed conflict. In addition, Gilbert imbued his libretti with "topsy-turvy" situations in which the social order was turned upside down. After a time, these subjects were often at odds with Sullivan's desire for realism and emotional content. Also, Gilbert's political satire often poked fun at the wealthy and powerful whom Sullivan sought out for friendship and patronage.

Gilbert and Sullivan quarrelled several times over the choice of a subject. After both Princess Ida and Ruddigore, which were less successful than the seven other operas from H.M.S. Pinafore to The Gondoliers, Sullivan asked to leave the partnership, saying that he found Gilbert's plots repetitive and that the operas were not artistically satisfying to him. While the two artists worked out their differences, Carte kept the Savoy open with revivals of their earlier works. On each occasion, after a few months' pause, Gilbert responded with a libretto that met Sullivan's objections, and the partnership was able to continue successfully.

During the run of The Gondoliers, however, Gilbert challenged Carte over the expenses of the production. Carte had charged the cost of a new carpet for the Savoy Theatre lobby to the partnership. Gilbert believed that this was a maintenance expense that should be charged to Carte alone. As scholar Andrew Crowther has explained:

Sullivan sided with Carte, who was building a theatre in London for the production of new English grand operas, with Sullivan's Ivanhoe as the inaugural work. While the protracted quarrel worked itself out in the courts and in public, Gilbert wrote The Mountebanks with Alfred Cellier and the flop Haste to the Wedding with George Grossmith, and Sullivan also wrote Haddon Hall with Sidney Grundy.

In 1891, after many failed attempts at reconciliation by the pair and their producer, Richard D'Oyly Carte, Gilbert and Sullivan's music publisher, Tom Chappell, stepped in to mediate between two of his most profitable artists, and within two weeks he had succeeded.

Last works and legacy

Utopia, Limited (1893), their penultimate opera, was a very modest success, and The Grand Duke (1896) was an outright failure. Neither work entered the "canon" of regularly-performed Gilbert and Sullivan works until the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company made the first complete professional recordings of the two operas in the 1970s. Gilbert also offered Sullivan His Excellency (1894), but Gilbert's insistence on casting Nancy McIntosh, his protégée from Utopia, led to Sullivan's refusal, and it was instead composed by F. Osmond Carr.

The Entr'acte expresses its pleasure that Gilbert and Sullivan are reunited
After The Grand Duke, the partners saw no reason to work together again. The last time they met was at the Savoy Theatre on 17 November 1898 at the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the first peformance of The Sorcerer. They did not speak to each other. Sullivan, by this time in exceedingly poor health, died in 1900, although to the end he continued to write new comic operas for the Savoy with other librettists, most successfully with Basil Hood in The Rose of Persia (1899) and The Emerald Isle (1901) (finished by Edward German after Sullivan's death). By the time of Sullivan's death, Gilbert wrote that any memory of their rift had been "completely bridged over," and "the most cordial relations existed between us." He stated that Sullivan was "A composer of the rarest genius — who, because he was a composer of the rarest genius, was as modest and as unassuming as a neophyte should be, but seldom is.... I remember all that he has done for me in allowing his genius to shed some of its lustre upon my humble name."

Gilbert went into semi-retirement, although he continued to direct revivals of the Savoy Operas and wrote new plays occasionally. He wrote only one more comic opera, Fallen Fairies (1909; music by Edward German), which was not a success. Richard D'Oyly Carte died in 1901, and his widow, Helen, and then his son, Rupert, followed by his granddaughter, Bridget, continued to direct the activities of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. That company toured year-round, except for its many London seasons and foreign tours, performing only the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, until it closed in 1982. During the 20th century, the company gave well over 35,000 performances.

1921 cartoon of Gilbert and Sullivan audiences
1922, Sir Henry Wood explained the enduring success of the collaboration as follows:

In 1957, a review in The Times gave this rationale for "the continued vitality of the Savoy operas":

Because of the unusual success of the operas, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company were able, from the start, to license the works to other professional companies, such as the J. C. Williamson Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and to amateur societies. For almost a century, until the British copyrights expired at the end of 1961, and even afterwards, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company influenced productions of the operas worldwide, creating a "performing tradition" for most of the operas that is still referred to today by many directors, both amateur and professional. Indeed, Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte had an important influence on amateur theatre. Cellier and Bridgeman wrote in 1914 that, prior to the creation of the Savoy operas, amateur actors were treated with contempt by professionals. After the formation of amateur Gilbert and Sullivan companies in the 1880s licensed to perform the operas, professionals recognised that the amateur societies "support the culture of music and the drama. They are now accepted as useful training schools for the legitimate stage, and from the volunteer ranks have sprung many present-day favourites." Cellier and Bridgeman attributed the rise in quality and reputation of the amateur groups largely to "the popularity of, and infectious craze for performing, the Gilbert and Sullivan operas". The National Operatic and Dramatic Association was founded in 1899. It reported, in 1914, that nearly 200 British societies were performing Gilbert and Sullivan that year, constituting most of the amateur societies in the country. The association further reported that almost 1,000 performances of the Savoy operas had been given in Britain that year, many of them to benefit charities. Cellier and Bridgeman noted that strong amateur societies were performing the operas in places as far away as New Zealand.

Recordings of excerpts from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas began to be released in 1906. In 1917, the Gramophone Company (also known as HMV) produced the first album of a complete musical score of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Mikado, followed by recordings of eight more of the operas. Electrical recordings of the complete musical scores of most of the operas were then issued by the Gramophone Company and Victor Talking Machine Company beginning in the late 1920s. These recordings were supervised by Rupert D'Oyly Carte. The original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company continued to produce well-regarded recordings until 1979, helping to keep the operas popular through the decades. Many of these recordings have been reissued on CD. After the copyrights on the operas expired, other professional companies were free to perform and record the operas. Many performing companies arose to produce the works, such as Gilbert and Sullivan for All in Britain and the Light Opera of Manhattan and Light Opera Works in the U.S., and existing companies, such as English National Opera and Australian Opera added Gilbert and Sullivan to their repertories. These companies also released popular audio and video recordings of the operas. In 1980, a Broadwaymarker and West Endmarker production of Pirates produced by Joseph Papp brought new audiences to Gilbert and Sullivan, and between 1988 and 2003, the revived D'Oyly Carte Opera Company revived the operas on tour and on the West End, also recording seven of the operas.

Today, numerous professional repertory companies, small opera companies, amateur societies, churches, schools and universities continue to produce the works. The most popular G&S works also continue to be performed from time to time by major opera companies, and professional recordings of the operas, and albums of songs from the operas, continue to be released. Since 1993, a three-week long International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival has been held every August in Buxton, Englandmarker, with some twenty performances of the operas given in the opera house, and several dozen related "fringe" events given in smaller venues.

Cultural influence

In the past 125 years, Gilbert and Sullivan have pervasively influenced popular culture in the English-speaking world, and lines and quotations from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas have become part of the English language (even if not originated by Gilbert), such as "short, sharp shock", "What never? Well, hardly ever!", "let the punishment fit the crime", and "A policeman's lot is not a happy one". The operas have influenced political style and discourse, literature, film and television, have been widely parodied by humorists, and have been quoted in legal rulings.

The American and British musical owes a tremendous debt to G&S, who were admired by and copied by early authors and composers such as Ivan Caryll, Adrian Ross, Lionel Monckton, P. G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, and Victor Herbert, and later Jerome Kern, Ira Gershwin, Yip Harburg, Irving Berlin, Ivor Novello, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Gilbert's lyrics served as a model for such 20th-century Broadwaymarker lyricists as Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, and Lorenz Hart. Noël Coward wrote: "I was born into a generation that still took light music seriously. The lyrics and melodies of Gilbert and Sullivan were hummed and strummed into my consciousness at an early age. My father sang them, my mother played them, my nurse, Emma, breathed them through her teeth.... My aunts and uncles... sang them singly and in unison at the slightest provocation...."

Gilbert and Sullivan expert and enthusiast Ian Bradley notes, however:

The works of Gilbert and Sullivan are themselves frequently pastiched and parodied. Well known examples of this include Tom Lehrer's The Elements and Clementine, Allan Sherman's I'm Called Little Butterball and You Need an Analyst, The Two Ronnies' 1973 Christmas Special, Anna Russell's famous routines, and the animated TV series Animaniacs' HMS Yakko episode. Songs from Gilbert and Sullivan are often pastiched in advertising, and elaborate advertising parodies have been published. Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas are commonly referenced in literature, film and television in various ways that include extensive use of Sullivan's music or where action occurs during a performance of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. There are also a number of Gilbert and Sullivan biographical films, such as Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy (2000) and The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953), as well as shows about the partnership, including a 1938 Broadway show, Knights of Song and a 1975 West End show called Tarantara! Tarantara!

It is not surprising, given the focus of Gilbert on politics, that politicians and political observers have often found inspiration in these works. Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist added gold stripes to his judicial robes after seeing them used by the Lord Chancellor in a production of Iolanthe. Alternatively, Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer is recorded as objecting so strongly to Iolanthe's comic portrayal of Lord Chancellors that he supported moves to disband the office. British politicians, beyond quoting some of the more famous lines, have delivered speeches in the form of Gilbert and Sullivan pastiches. These include Conservative Peter Lilley's speech mimicking the form of "I've got a little list" from The Mikado, listing those he was against, including "sponging socialists" and "young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing queue". Political humour based on Gilbert and Sullivan's style and characters continues to be written. On the U.S. news show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, a clip was shown from the Family Guy episode "Stewie Kills Lois" in which Stewie, after taking over the world, sings the "little list" song about those he hates, including Bill O'Reilly's dermatologist.


1880 Pirates poster

Major works and original London runs

Parlour ballads

  • The Distant Shore (1874)
  • The Love that Loves Me Not (1875)
  • Sweethearts (1875), based on Gilbert's 1874 play, Sweethearts


The overtures from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas remain popular, and there are many recordings of them. Most of them are structured as a potpourri of tunes from the operas. They are generally well-orchestrated, but not all of them were composed by Sullivan. However, even those delegated to his assistants were based on an outline he provided, and in many cases incorporated his suggestions or corrections. Sullivan invariably conducted them (as well as the entire operas) on opening night, and they were included in the published scores approved by Sullivan.

Those Sullivan wrote himself include the overtures to Thespis, Iolanthe, Princess Ida, The Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers and The Grand Duke. Sullivan's authorship of the overture to Utopia Limited cannot be verified with certainty, as his autograph score is now lost, but it is likely attributable to him, as it consists of only a few bars of introduction, followed by a straight copy of music heard elsewhere in the opera (the Drawing Room scene). Thespis is now lost, but there is no doubt that Sullivan wrote its overture. Very early performances of The Sorcerer used a section of Sullivan's incidental music to Shakespeare's Henry the VIII, as he did not have time to write a new overture, but this was later replaced.

Of those remaining, the overture to Patience is by Eugene d'Albert, and the overtures to H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance are by Alfred Cellier. Those to The Mikado and Ruddigore are by Hamilton Clarke (although the Ruddigore overture was later replaced by one written by Geoffrey Toye), and Clarke also wrote the new overture to The Sorcerer for its 1884 revival, which is the overture still in use.

Most of the overtures are in three sections: a lively introduction, a slow middle section, and a concluding allegro in sonata form, with two subjects, a brief development, a recapitulation and a coda. However, Sullivan himself did not always follow this pattern. The overtures to Princess Ida and The Gondoliers, for instance, have only an opening fast section and a concluding slow section. The overture to Utopia Limited is dominated by a slow section, with only a very brief original passage introducing it.

In the 1920s, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company commissioned its musical director at the time, Geoffrey Toye, to write new overtures for Ruddigore and The Pirates of Penzance. Toye's Ruddigore overture entered the general repertory, and today is more often heard than the original overture by Clarke.Shepherd, Marc, The 1924 D'Oyly Carte Ruddigore, The Gilbert and Sullivan Discography. Retrieved 14 July 2008 Toye's Pirates overture, however, did not last long and is now presumed lost. Sir Malcolm Sargent devised a new ending for the overture to The Gondoliers, adding the "cachucha" from the second act of the opera. This gave the Gondoliers overture the familiar fast-slow-fast pattern of most of the rest of the Savoy Opera overtures, and this version has competed for popularity with Sullivan's original version.

Alternative versions


Gilbert and Sullivan operas have been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Yiddish, Hebrew, Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Spanish (reportedly including a version of Pinafore transformed into zarzuela style), Catalan and many others.

There are many German versions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, including the popular Der Mikado. There is even a German version of The Grand Duke. Some German translations were made by Friedrich Zell and Richard Genée, librettists of Die Fledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig and other Viennese operettas, who even translated one of Sullivan's lesser-known operas, The Chieftain, as ("Der Häuptling").



The Pinafore Picture Book, 1908
Gilbert adapted the stories of H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado into children's books called The Pinafore Picture Book and The Story of The Mikado giving, in some cases, backstory that is not found in the librettos. Many other children's books have since been written retelling the stories of the operas or adapting characters or events from them.

Many musical theatre and film adaptations of the operas have been produced, including the following:

See also


  1. Sir George Grove: "Form and symmetry he seems to possess by instinct; rhythm and melody clothe everything he touches; the music shows not only sympathetic genius, but sense, judgement, proportion, and a complete absence of pedantry and pretension; while the orchestration is distinguished by a happy and original beauty hardly surpassed by the greatest masters."
  2. Gian Andrea Mazzucato in The Musical Standard of 30 December 1899: "[Sullivan]... will... be classed among the epoch-making composers, the select few whose genius and strength of will empowered them to find and found a national school of music, that is, to endow their countrymen with the undefinable, yet positive means of evoking in a man's soul, by the magic of sound, those delicate nuances of feeling which are characteristic of the emotional power of each different race." Quoted in the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society Journal, No. 34, Spring 1992, pp. 11-12
  3. Bradley (2005), Chapter 1
  4. Hewett, Ivan. "The magic of Gilbert and Sullivan", The Telegraph, 2 Aug 2009
  5. Crowther, Andrew. The Life of W. S. Gilbert. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  6. Stedman, pp. 26–29, 123–24, and the introduction to Gilbert's Foggerty's Fairy and Other Tales
  7. Bond, Jessie. The Reminiscences of Jessie Bond: Introduction The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21. Bond created the mezzo-soprano roles in most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas and is here leading in to a description of Gilbert's role in reforming the Victorian theatre.
  8. Stedman, pp. 62–68; Bond, Jessie, The Reminiscences of Jessie Bond: Introduction. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  9. Crowther, Andrew. Ages Ago—Early Days. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  10. Interview by Arthur H. Lawrence, Part 1, The Strand Magazine, Volume xiv, No.84 (December 1897) See also Sullivan's Letter to The Times, 27 October 1881, Issue 30336, pg. 8 col C
  11. Shepherd, Marc, Discography of Sir Arthur Sullivan: Orchestral and Band Music at The Gilbert and Sullivan Discography. Includes descriptions of the works. Retrieved 2007-06-10.
  12. Stephen Turnbull's Biography of W. S. Gilbert at the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive. Retrieved 2006-11-22.
  13. Harris, Roger, ed. (1999). Cox and Box. Chorleywood, Herts., UK: R. Clyde. pp. X–XI
  14. Tillett, Selwyn and Spencer, Roderic (2002). . Chimes Musical Theatre, Retrieved on 2007-05-21
  15. Jean-Bernard Piat: Guide du mélomane averti, Le Livre de Poche 8026, Paris 1992
  16. Barker, John W. "Gilbert and Sullivan", Madison Savoyards, Ltd., Retrieved on 2007-05-21, quotes Sullivan's recollection of Gilbert reading the libretto of Trial by Jury to him: "As soon as he had come to the last word he closed up the manuscript violently, apparently unconscious of the fact that he had achieved his purpose so far as I was concerned, in as much as I was screaming with laughter the whole time."
  17. Walbrook, H. M. (1922), Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, a History and Comment (Chapter 3). The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  18. Ayer p. 408
  19. The Sorcerer at The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  20. Gilbert was strongly influenced by the innovations in 'stagecraft', now called stage direction, by the playwrights James Planche and especially Tom Robertson. See Gilbert, W. S., A Stage Play; and Bond, Jessie, Introduction, etc.
  21. Cox-Ife, William. W. S. Gilbert: Stage Director. Dobson, 1978 ISBN 0-234-77206-9.
  22. "That Gilbert was a good director is not in doubt. He was able to extract from his actors natural, clear performances, which served the Gilbertian requirements of outrageousness delivered straight." Mike Leigh interview
  23. Baily, p. 335
  24. Bradley (1996), p. 115
  25. Rosen, Zvi S. The Twilight of the Opera Pirates: A Prehistory of the Right of Public Performance for Musical Compositions. Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 24, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-21. See also Prestige, Colin. "D'Oyly Carte and the Pirates", a paper presented at the International Conference of G&S held at the University of Kansas, May 1970
  26. Ellmann, Richard Oscar Wilde, (Knopf, 1988) pp. 135 and 151-152 ISBN 0-394-55484-1
  27. See this article on the Savoy Theatre from, Retrieved on 2007-07-20. See also this article from the Ambassador Theatre Group Limited
  28. The longest was the operetta Les Cloches de Corneville, which held the title until Dorothy in 1886. See this article on longest runs in the theatre up to 1920
  29. Quoted in Allen 1975b, p. 176
  30. William Beatty-Kingston, Theatre, 1 January 1883, quoted in Baily 1966, p. 246
  31. Bradley (1996), p. 176
  32. Baily, p. 250
  33. Stedman, pp. 200-01
  34. Jacobs, p. 187
  35. Gilbert eventually found another opportunity to present his "lozenge plot" in The Mountebanks, written with Alfred Cellier in 1892
  36. albeit with the repetition of the apocryphal sword-falling story, see Jones, Brian (Spring 1985), "The sword that never fell", W. S. Gilbert Society Journal 1 (1): 22–25
  37. Lyric Opera San Diego site
  38. The longest-running piece of musical theatre was the operetta Les Cloches de Corneville, which held the title until Dorothy in 1886. See this article on longest runs in the theatre up to 1920
  39. See here and here
  40. See the Pall Mall Gazette's satire of Ruddygore. Gilbert's response to being told the two spellings meant the same thing was: "Not at all, for that would mean that if I said that I admired your ruddy countenance, which I do, I would be saying that I liked your bloody cheek, which I don't." See this article at Harvard's website and this information from the Australian G&S site.
  41. A copy of the Ruddigore libretto, including material cut before the first night and during the initial run, is
  42. Information from the book Tit-Willow or Notes and Jottings on Gilbert and Sullivan Operas by Guy H. and Claude A. Walmisley (Privately Printed, Undated, early 20th century)
  43. Critical apparatus in Hulme, David Russell, ed., Ruddigore. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2000)
  44. Jacobs, p. 288
  45. The Gondoliers at The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, Retrieved on 2007-07-21.
  46. See, e.g., Stedman, pp. 254-56 and 323-24 and Ainger, pp. 193-94.
  47. See, e.g. Ainger, p. 288, or Wolfson, p. 3
  48. See, e.g. Jacobs, p. 73; Crowther, Andrew, The Life of W.S. Gilbert. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21; and Bond, Jessie, The Reminiscences of Jessie Bond: Chapter 16. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21
  49. Gilbert's Plays. The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  50. Wolfson, p. 7
  51. Wolfson, passim
  52. Wolfson, pp. 61-65
  53. Howarth, Paul. "The Sorcerer 21st Anniversary Souvenir", The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, 8 October 2009
  54. Bailey, p. 425
  55. Rollins and Witts, passim
  56. Cellier and Bridgeman, p. 393
  57. Cellier and Bridgeman, p. 394
  58. Cellier and Bridgeman, pp. 394–96
  59. Cellier and Bridgeman, pp. 398–99
  60. Shepherd, Marc. "The First D'Oyly Carte Recordings", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 18 November 2001
  61. Shepherd, Marc. "G&S Discography: The Electrical Era", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 18 November 2001
  62. Shepherd, Marc. "The D'Oyly Carte Stereo Recordings", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 24 December 2003
  63. The Australian Opera list of productions 1970 - 1996, AusStage, accessed 25 May 2009
  64. Shepherd, Marc. "G&S on Film, TV and Video", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 18 November 2001
  65. Shepherd, Marc. Description of New Sadler's Wells, New D'Oyly Carte and Telarc recordings, A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 27 August 2002
  66. For example, NYGASP, Carl Rosa Opera Company, Opera della Luna, Opera a la Carte, Skylight opera theatre, Ohio Light Opera and Washington Savoyards
  67. Websites of Performing Groups The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at Boise State University, retrieved on 21 May 2007
  68. Performances, by city—Composer: Arthur Sullivan., Retrieved on 2007-05-21
  69. "The Gala Ensemble: The Best Of Gilbert & Sullivan", Selby Times, 7 December 2008 (Compilation recording)
  70. Shepherd, Marc. "The Ohio Light Opera Recordings", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 16 July 2005
  71. Lee, Bernard. "Gilbert and Sullivan are still going strong after a century", Sheffield Telegraph, 1 August 2008
  72. Bradley (2005), Chapter 1.
  73. Green, Edward. "Ballads,songs, and speeches" (sic). BBC, 20 September 2004. Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  74. Lawrence, Arthur H. "An illustrated interview with Sir Arthur Sullivan" Part 3, from The Strand Magazine, Vol. xiv, No.84 (December 1897). Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  75. References to Gilbert and Sullivan have appeared in the following U.S. Supreme Court rulings, for example, Allied Chemical Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 36 (1980) ("What never? Well, hardly ever!"); and Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555, 604 (1980) (dissent of Justice Rehnquist, quoting the Lord Chancellor).
  76. Bargainnier, Earl F. "W. S. Gilbert and American Musical Theatre", pp. 120–33, American Popular Music: Readings from the Popular Press by Timothy E. Scheurer, Popular Press, 1989 ISBN 0879724668
  77. PG Wodehouse (1881–1975),, Retrieved on 2007-05-21
  78. Meyerson, Harold and Ernest Harburg Who Put the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz?: Yip Harburg, Lyricist, pp 15-17 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993, 1st paperback edition 1995)
  79. Bradley (2005), p. 9
  80. Lesson 35—Cole Porter: You're the Top., American Masters for Teachers, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  81. Furia, Phillip. Ira Gershwin: The Art of a Lyricist. Oxford University Press, Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  82. Introduction to The Noel Coward Song Book, (London: Methuen, 1953), p. 9
  83. Bradley (2005) devotes an entire chapter (chapter 8) to parodies and pastiches of G&S used in advertising, comedy and journalism.
  84. For example, in 1961 Guinness published an entire book of parodies of Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics, illustarted with cartoons, to advertise Guinness Stout. The book, by Anthony Groves-Raines with illustrations by Stanley Penn is called My Goodness, My Gilbert and Sullivan.
  85. "Knights of Song" at the IBDB database
  86. Lewis, David. "Tarantara! Tarantara!" at The Guide to Musical Theatre, accessed 20 November 2009
  87. See also Sullivan and Gilbert for an example of an off-Broadway show about the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership.
  88. See this Daily Mail editorial piece, dated June 29, 2007
  89. Shepherd, Marc. Overtures, A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography (2005)
  90. "Sir Arthur Sullivan", Interviewed by The Pall Mall Gazette, 5 December 1889
  91. Hughes, p. 130
  92. Rees, Terence. Thespis - A Gilbert & Sullivan Enigma. London (1964): Dillon's University Bookshop, p. 79.
  93. Ainger, at p. 195 writes, "That evening (April 21, 1881) Sullivan gave his sketch of the overture to Eugene D'Albert to score. D'Albert was a seventeen-year-old student at the National Training School (where Sullivan was the principal and supervisor of the composition dept.) and winner of the Mendelssohn Scholarship that year." Several months before that, Sullivan had given d'Albert the task of preparing a piano reduction of The Martyr of Antioch for use in choral rehearsals of that 1880 work. David Russell Hulme studied the handwriting in the score's manuscript and confirmed that it is that of Eugen, not of his father Charles (as had erroneously been reported by Jacobs), both of whose script he sampled and compared to the Patience manuscript. Hulme, Doctoral Thesis The Operettas of Sir Arthur Sullivan: a study of available autograph full scores, 1985, University of Wales, pp. 242-43. The Thesis is available from a number of libraries (and many copies have been circulated) including The British Library Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa, Wetherby W. Yorks, Ref # DX171353, and Northern Illinois University, Call# :ML410.S95 H841986B.
  94. Ainger, pp. 157 and 177
  95. Stone, David (2001), "Hamilton Clarke", Who Was Who in the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  96. Ainger, p. 140
  97. Stedman, p. 331
  98. Gilbert, W. S. The Pinafore Picture Book, London: George Bell and Sons (1908)
  99. Gilbert, W. S. The Story of The Mikado, London: Daniel O'Connor (1921)
  100. Dillard, pp. 103–05 lists many.
  101. Schillinger, Liesl. "Dress British, Sing Yiddish", The New York Times, 22 October 2006
  102. Shepherd, Marc. "The Celebration Theater Pinafore! (2002)", A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 3 June 2002, accessed 10 March 2009
  103. "Watermill - Pinafore Swing", Collected newspaper reviews of Pinafore Swing, reprinted at the Newbury theatre guide archive, accessed 10 March 2009


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