Portal:Gilbert and Sullivan

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Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. 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 libretti for these operas, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds 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 emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos.

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The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer is a two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan. It opened on November 17, 1877 at the Opera Comique in the Strand in London, where it ran for 178 performances. For the 1884 revival, Gilbert and Sullivan abridged the ending to Act I, and provided a new opening to Act II, and it is in this form that the work is usually presented today. The success of The Sorcerer, although modest, encouraged Carte and the authors to continue their collaboration the following year with H.M.S. Pinafore, the work that established the Gilbert and Sullivan phenomenon that produced one hit after another throughout the 1880s – the series known as the Savoy Operas. The opera was revived in 1884 and again in 1898. In the early years of the 20th century, however, it gradually fell out of favour. Between the mid-1930s and the early 1970s, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company did not perform it at all, and many amateur companies followed suit. A 1971 revival brought new life to the work, and it has now joined the regular rotation of most G&S performing groups.

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Ruth Vincent
Ruth Vincent (22 March 1877 – 4 July 1955) was an English opera singer and actress, best remembered for her performances in soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the 1890s. Vincent joined the D'Oyly Carte organisation in 1894 in the chorus at the age of 17. She began to play small roles in 1896, taking on larger roles in Gilbert and Sullivan revivals the following year and soon creating leading roles including Iza in The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (1897–98), Laine in The Beauty Stone (1898) and Princess Laoula in The Lucky Star (1899). She also continued to sing leading roles in Gilbert and Sullivan revivals, including Casilda in The Gondoliers and Aline in The Sorcerer in 1898 and Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore in 1899. Unhappy to be passed over for the leading soprano role in The Rose of Persia, Vincent left the company near the end of 1899. After this, Vincent went on to a substantial career in Edwardian musical comedies opera and concert singing. She took leading West End roles in Véronique (1904–05), Tom Jones (1907), The Belle of Brittany (1909) and several others and also performed on Broadway. From 1910, she enjoyed a brief grand opera career at Covent Garden and Drury Lane and then toured in oratorio and concerts and also in variety shows, performing until 1930.

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The Beauty Stone

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Recording of "Little maid of Arcadee" from Thespis (opera)



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Stephen Sondheim
The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?
Stephen Sondheim, (1989)


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