The Complete Gilbert & Sullivan: Librettos from All Fourteen Operettas

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Black Dog & Leventhal, 1960 - Music - 711 pages
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Complete with illustrations by W.S. Gilbert and a preface by the late music critic Deems Taylor, The Complete Gilbert & Sullivan captures and celebrates the whimsy, the brilliance and the timelessness of some of the best musical theater ever written. Arthur Sullivan and William Gilbert were gifted individuals who combined their talents to bring about one of the greatest creative teams in history - they produced fourteen light operas in all, which continue to delight audiences the world over.

The Pirates Of Penzance

"I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

I've information vegetable, animal & mineral,

I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,

From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;"

The Mikado

"Three little maids from school are we,

Pert as a school-girl well can be,

Filled to the brim with girlish glee,

Three little maids from school!"

H.M.S. Pinafore

"Never mind the why and wherefore,

Love can level ranks, and therefore

I admit the jurisdiction;

Ably you have played your part;

You have carried firm conviction

To my hesitating heart."

And 11 others....

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Preface by Deems Taylor
Trial by Jury

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About the author (1960)

Born in London, William S. Gilbert served a term as a government clerk and was called to the bar as a barrister before being diverted into the bohemian world of Victorian comic journalism. He first achieved popularity as the author of several volumes of "Bab Ballads" (Max Beerbohm praised them as "silly"). Moving on to theater, Gilbert contributed to the current rage for travesties of opera and for one-act musical "entertainments" until a blank-verse burlesque of Tennyson's Princess Princess led to commissions and full-length comedies, both mythological and "modern." Still highly regarded by critics, some of these---perhaps Sweethearts (1874) and Engaged (1877)---should be investigated by today's readers and producers. As it is, their best memorial is the early work of George Bernard Shaw, who, although he polemically rejected their cynicism, was clearly influenced by Gilbert's comedies and their inversion of social values. By the time of Engaged, however, a second dramatic career had overtaken Gilbert. Collaboration with the composer Arthur Sullivan, begun in 1871 (Thespis), achieved theatrical success with Trial by Jury in 1875. In the comic operas that followed, Sullivan's generally allusive music enriched the sometimes shrill pessimism of Gilbert's wit. An unlikely jostle of theatrical parody, contemporary satire, intricate meters, and logical fantasy, the librettos have often been compared with the comedies of Aristophanes and have influenced English playwrights from Oscar Wilde to Tom Stoppard. Uncomfortable, often acrimonious, the partnership nevertheless lasted through 25 years and 13 Savoy operas (so called because many were staged by Richard D'Oyly Carte at his Savoy Theatre). Gilbert, whose merely theatrical connections (as opposed to Sullivan's serious musical credentials) held him back from formal honors, was knighted in 1907, only a few years before his death.

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