1869–1871 The Meeting of Gilbert and Sullivan—<i>Thespis</i>

Michael Ainger

in Gilbert and Sullivan

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147698
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849437 | DOI:
1869–1871 The Meeting of Gilbert and Sullivan—Thespis

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William Gilbert's first piece before Christmas, On Guard, was written for the Court Theatre and opened on October 28, 1871. It ran for only a month, by which time it had already opened in America. Before the end of that month, Gilbert had roughed out a sketch plot for the piece with Arthur Sullivan. At the same time, he was working on a much more substantial piece, Pygmalion and Galatea. With his mind still on classical themes, Gilbert had come up with the idea of Thespis; or the Gods Grown Old for the Gaiety. On October 30, his agent, Edward English, wrote to R. M. Field of the Boston Museum Theatre, telling him that Gilbert and Sullivan were doing an opéra bouffe in English for the Gaiety at Christmas. He enclosed a rough sketch of the piece and said he believed that Gilbert and Sullivan were hard at work on it.

Keywords: William Gilbert; On Guard; Court Theatre; America; Arthur Sullivan; Pygmalion and Galatea; Thespis; Edward English; opéra bouffe; Gaiety

Chapter.  7855 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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