A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan by Gayden Wren PDF

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By Gayden Wren

ISBN-10: 0195145143

ISBN-13: 9780195145144

ISBN-10: 0195302885

ISBN-13: 9780195302882

Written greater than a century in the past and before everything appeared even by means of their creators as not anything greater than gentle leisure, the fourteen operas of Gilbert & Sullivan emerged over the process the 20th century because the world's hottest physique of musical-theater works, score moment basically to Shakespeare within the historical past of English-language theater. regardless of this resounding acceptance and confirmed sturdiness, so much books written in regards to the duo have eager about the authors instead of the works. With this unique exam of all fourteen operas, Gayden Wren fills this void. His daring thesis unearths the foremost to the operas' toughness, no longer within the shrewdpermanent lyrics, witty discussion, or catchy track, yet within the vital issues underlying the characters and tales themselves. Like Shakespeare's comedies, Wren exhibits, the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan undergo as a result of their undying topics, which converse to audiences as powerfully now as they did the 1st time they have been played. Written out of an abiding love for the Savoy operas, this quantity is vital studying for any devotee of those mesmerizing works, or certainly for somebody who loves musical theater.

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Additional resources for A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan

Example text

1. Statistical Breakdown, The Sorcerer vs. The Mikado Sorcerer Mikado (original version) Total musical numbers Choruses Solos Duets Trios Quartets Quintets 23 7 11 4 0 0 1 Recitatives Dialogues 10 9 (excluding act 1 finales) (3 w/chorus) 29 6 12 3 4 2 2 (7 w/chorus) 2 18 existing songs interpolated into the operas. They featured strongly marked rhythms, conventional lyrics and short verse-chorus structures that made it easy for the public to exit whistling the tunes—and for underrehearsed actors to learn them.

Gilbert then set to work on the lyrics, first Act 1 and then Act 2, sending each song on to Sullivan as he completed it. The dialogue was the last element to be written. Meanwhile, Sullivan, as was his wont, put off writing much of the music until deadlines forced him to buckle down. It was likewise with The Sorcerer that Gilbert & Sullivan first had full control of the casting of their work. With Thespis and Trial by Jury they had been obliged to accommodate certain principal performers of exist- 40 A Most Ingenious Paradox ing companies, which chafed both men.

Similarly, such favorite Gilbertian plot devices as long-hidden secrets, twist endings, or multiple tellings of a single story are nowhere to be found. In one sense, this lack of continuity with future operas is surprising. After all, within the year its creators were to set to work on The Sorcerer, which in form and content is clearly a “rough draft” for the mature operas to come. But ultimately the lack of continuity simply reflects the different priorities at work in Trial by Jury and The Sorcerer.

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A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan by Gayden Wren


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