Anyone like Gilbert and Sullivan?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Jay, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Jay

    Jay Member

    I just watched DVD of Pirates of Penzance lol...need to learn the entire score in just under 3 weeks to accompany for the Come and Sing at the local theatre! Does anybody else like/play G&S? Some of it is incredibly difficult! At first I thought the operas were quite dull, but when they're performed right they can be SO funny and silly!
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I've sung in The Mikado and played in the pit for Pirates, Princess Ida and HMS Pinafore. I quite like G&S, and the overture to Pirates was the first piece of classical music I made an effort to listen to; having heard the youth band play it in the room next to where I was struggling to get a bottom c in the learners class I asked my parents what it was and they actually had a recording of it. So actually G&S are responsible for getting me interested in classical music and eventually doing a degree in music where I met my wife (she was on the same course). So I kind of owe G&S a lot!

    I like Pirates and The Mikado, but they are probably the best, with the most memorable tunes. A lot of it is a bit the same, and the weaker ones (like Princess Ida, Iolanthe and Trial by Jury) struggle to muster any really memorable music, although the libretti are still pretty sharp. Some of the Victorian in-jokes need to be updated, and everyone changes some lyrics (e.g. the executioners song in Mikado, where he sings a list of petty malefactors who are going on his execution list). There's at least one of these "patter-songs" in every G&S, "I am the very model of a modern major-general" being the patter-song in Pirates.

    Done with enthusiasm and enough wit, they're ace.
  3. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I would not say i am a big fan but i do like the Mikado.
    Played it many times .
  4. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    ITV3 recently showed the 1983 TV film version of the Pirates with Angela Lansbury, Kevin Kline, and Linda Ronstadt.

    It was very funny, with lots of in jokes for Savoyards, and some excellent departures from traditional performance.

    The ladies reponse to "Oh, is there not one maiden here, who's homely face and bad complexion" is vitriolic and priceless!

    Linda Ronstadt is rather American as Mabel, and sings about a fourth lower than the usual coloratura playing Mabel.

    There are other good bits in it - so catch it if you can.

    Me? I was weened on Princess Ida, and was allowed to remove a complete set of G&S scores from my school.

    I can recite most of the lyrics from most of operas most of the time, and performed as the Boatswain in Pinafore at 3 days notice. Sad, but true...
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  5. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    I love Gilbert and Sullivan!

    I've seen Orpheus in the Underworld and Pirates..... LOVED both of them!

    I especially love the policemen in Pirates.... and the bloke who played the modern major general was absolutely fantastically funny..... I was wetting myself watching it! Its getting close to opera time in barnstaple again actually.... can't wait to find out what it is this year!
  6. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Isn't Orpheus by Offenbach, not G&S? It's a sort of French version of the same thing though!

    I love G&S too - it's fabulous stuff. My uncle is a professional opera singer and he has done loads of stuff with the D'Oyle Carte Opera company over the years, including many leading roles. He's quite well known for it! :clap:
  7. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    I recently played in the Orchestra for The Gondoliers. Thoroughly enjoyed the Opera although the Trombone parts weren't particularly exciting. I have to admit that I enjoyed it so much that I have bought the cd.
  8. murr

    murr Member

    I actually played for most of the G&S operettas in the 1980's. Enjoyed them all, very clever use of words. The music for most of them is very much the same, but the Yeoman of the guard was Sullivan's attempt at a more serious operatic style. Long may they continue.
  9. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Hehehehehe! My school A level Msuic master slated me repeatedly for quoting Sullivan's music as examples in History of Music - but I got an A using that maxim...

    TIMBONE Active Member

    To enjoy Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, I think it helps to understand their context in the society they were written for. Although there have been one or two reasonably successful modern adaptions of G&S, I would say that in most cases, the operetta would lose it's topicality. W S Gilbert was an incredibly talented wordsmith. Sir Arthur Sullivan could have (and did try to get heard) written more serious music. G&S operettas were essentially musical sitcoms, following the more serious operatic form.

    I must just mention a Simpsons episode, where Sideshow Bob ( who loves Gilbert & Sullivan) had kidnapped Bart, and had him on a boat, where he was going to kill him for having got him put in prison. Sideshow Bob asked Bart if he had any last request. Bart cleverly asked Sideshow Bob if he could sing The Pirates of Penzance. Sideshow Bob was delighted, and sat back while Bart performed the entire operetta :clap: By the time the Finale came, the boat was in a built up area, and Bart's family and the police were waiting to catch Sideshow Bob. I found this hilarious :biggrin:
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    As an extra incentive to A level students you are expected to be familiar with an act from a G&S operetta if you are doing the OCR syllabub. This year, purely by coincidence, my lot have chosen Pirates.

    I hated the version shown on TV, I thought it was far too OTT. I much prefer the D'Oyly Carte versions. I have never had a major part, but have sung smaller solos in college productions and played in bands.

    Our school no longer performs them, though we used to do one every year. Our new HoD doesn't like them or value them and will probably never do one. I think that's a bit sad. I wouldn't want to do one every year, but as a change from the relentless 'poppy' musicals it would be a pleasant change to do one every so often.
  12. Hornblower RN

    Hornblower RN Member

    We did an encore yesterday afternoon in a fete playing the Finale from Pineapple Poll....I quite enjoy G and S:clap:

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I have just remembered that one of my first pro. gigs was as a 12 year old percussionist at Sexey's School in Somerset (I think that is how you spell it, and no, it is not a joke). It was The Gondoliers, and I loved it. I think I got paid a free orange juice and rich tea biscuit in the interval, and an old 10 shilling note at the end of the week :) (that may be a joke).
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I was weaned on Gilbert & Sullivan attending annual performances by the Windsor, Slough & Eton Operatic group when my dad was playing in the orchestra - two performances a year, one being G&S. Great music, even if you have to suspend reality with some of the plots - try working out the relative ages of the characters in "HMS Pinafore" and you'll see what I mean!

    I think a sensitive update can help bring them up to date, and I thought Jonathan Miller's "Mikado" was a first-rate example. At one stage the d'Oyly Carte productions were too concerned with preserving tradition for tradition's sake, but there seem to have been some better ones more recently.

    (I definitely disagree about "Princess Ida" - good songs and a lot of humour if it's played right!)

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I love Princess Ida. I think it doesn't get done as much because it is a little more serious than a lot of the others. In my opinion, Sullivan's music is very Mozartian.
  16. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I remember that one - class. Wasn't it HMS Pinafore though?

    Pineapple Poll was (I think) an arrangement of Sullivan's themes done by Charles Mackerras (one of the great G&S conductors) for Sadlers Wells, rather than an original Sullivan composition.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Woops, I knew it was something to do with the sea :oops:
  18. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    The pirate one's ace! We did it at primary school and all the teachers were the policemen it was well good :D
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Aah, Pinafore.

    When doing it at three days notice as mentioned above, I had to get rid of my glasses quickly after sizing up the steps down onto the stage each night. Needless to say, on one night I forgot, and wore my specs for most of the second half. And they weren't period specs either, they were of the huge 80s stylee. :redface:

    On the last night, for the opening, I sat on basket, as I had done for the four nights, but instead of messing about with some rope, I solved a Rubik's cube instead...
  20. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Quite enjoyed the Hot Mikado at the Watermill in Newbury... then I would say that, my Mrs is playing the part of Petti-Sing....


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