Portal:Gilbert and Sullivan

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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). Together, they wrote 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. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration. He built the Savoy Theatre 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. The Gilbert and Sullivan operas have enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still performed frequently throughout the English-speaking world. The collaboration 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.

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Charity
Charity is a drama in four acts by W. S. Gilbert that opened on January 3, 1874 at the Haymarket Theatre in London, where Gilbert had previously presented his 'fairy comedies' The Palace of Truth, Pygmalion and Galatea, and The Wicked World. Gilbert created several plays for the Haymarket Theatre, managed by John Baldwin Buckstone and starring William Hunter Kendal and his wife, Madge Robertson Kendal, sister of the playwright Thomas William Robertson, in the early 1870s. Gilbert wanted to use what he perceived as Mrs. Kendal's capabilities as a tragedienne, and, after abandoning his original plan of a vindictive villainess, he composed one of his most powerful women's roles for her in this play. The play analyses and critiques the contrasting ways in which Victorian society treated men and women who had sex outside of marriage, anticipating the "problem plays" of Shaw and Ibsen. 1874 was a particularly busy year for Gilbert. He illustrated The Piccadilly Annual; supervised a revival of Pygmalion and Galatea; and wrote Charity; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, a parody of Hamlet; a dramatisation of Ought We to Visit Her? (a novel by Annie Edwardes), an adaptation from the French, Committed for Trial, another adaptation from the French called The Blue-Legged Lady, a play, Sweethearts, and Topsyturveydom, a comic opera. He also wrote a Bab-illustrated story called "The Story of a Twelfth Cake" for the Graphic Christmas number.

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Richard D'Oyly Carte, W. S. Gibert, and Arthur Sullivan
Credit: Alfred Bryan

Gilbert and Sullivan created fourteen comic operas, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado, many of which are still frequently performed today. However, events around their 1889 collaboration, The Gondoliers, led to an argument and a lawsuit dividing the two. 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. This cartoon in The Entr'acte expresses the magazine's pleasure at the reuniting of D'Oyly Carte (left), Gilbert (centre), and Sullivan (right).

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Sweethearts

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Arthur Sullivan
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan MVO (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer, of Irish and Italian descent, best known for his operatic collaborations with librettist W. S. Gilbert, including such continually-popular works as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. Sullivan's artistic output included 23 operas, 13 major orchestral works, eight choral works and oratorios, two ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous hymns and other church pieces, songs, parlour ballads, part songs, carols, and piano and chamber pieces. Apart from his comic operas with Gilbert, Sullivan is best known for some of his hymns and parlour songs, including "Onward Christian Soldiers", "The Absent-Minded Beggar", and "The Lost Chord". His most critically praised pieces include his Irish Symphony, his Overture di Ballo, The Martyr of Antioch, The Golden Legend, and, of the Savoy Operas, The Yeomen of the Guard. Sullivan's only grand opera, Ivanhoe, was initially highly successful, but it has been little heard since his death.

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The Lost Chord, recorded by George Gouraud for the August 14, 1888 press conference that introduced the phonograph to London.

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Jessie Bond
Surely, I felt, it would interest a public that still loves the Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, and even outside that public the human story of a girl's ambitions and aspirations, of her struggle with adverse circumstances and the gradual attainment of her desires, must have value if told simply and sincerely.... I am one of the last of my generation. I have outlived prejudices and animosities, and can look back on my own life as on an interesting story. That I have tried to make it. An absolutely true story of struggle and gradual attainment may perhaps encourage some weary young aspirant, and to do that would alone make it well worth while.
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Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan topics

The Triumvirate: W. S. GilbertArthur SullivanRichard D'Oyly Carte

The Gilbert and Sullivan Operas: ThespisTrial by JuryThe SorcererH.M.S. PinaforeThe Pirates of PenzancePatienceIolanthePrincess IdaThe MikadoRuddigoreThe Yeomen of the GuardThe GondoliersUtopia, LimitedThe Grand Duke

Other Works, People and Related Matters: Other Works by W. S. GilbertOther Operas by Arthur SullivanOther Music by Arthur SullivanSavoy operaPeople associated with Gilbert and SullivanGilbert and Sullivan performersD'Oyly Carte Opera CompanyHelen CarteRupert D'Oyly CarteBridget D'Oyly CarteCultural influence of Gilbert and SullivanInternational Gilbert and Sullivan Festival

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