From Trial by Jury to The Pirates of Penzance, this book contains the complete textsfor all fourteen operas (or operettas) by Gilbert & Sullivan.
Here are the witty and charming librettos that have delighted generations of fans. Complete and authentic, these are the texts on which modern performances and recordings are based. Among the songs are scattered over seventy of the amusing, quirky pictures W. S. Gilbert drew to illustrate them, and a chronology prepared for this edition sketches the authors' lives and careers. This is a book that no lover of Gilbert and Sullivan, musical comedy, or the English theater will want to be without.
The famous partnership was an unlikely one. Gilbert, of the sharp tongue and topsy-turvy imagination, was temperamentally the opposite of Sullivan, the amiable though ambitious establishment composer. The two respected but did not particularly like each other, yet their work succeeded brilliantly. Under the cagey management of Richard D'Oyly Carte—the very model of a modern theater impresario—the Savoy Operas enjoyed unprecedented acclaim and long runs as they appeared from 1875 to 1896, and they have continued enormously popular ever since.
Gilbert's librettos are delightful to read; his dialogue, often ironic and very funny, may have given us more epigrams even that Shaw's or Wilde's; his verses for Sullivan's music are the most fastidiously turned and inventively rhymed in all lyric comedy. As the Savoy Operas enter their second century, Gilbert's reputation as the supreme wordsmith of light opera remains secure.
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