1888–1889 “I Have Lost the Liking for Writing Comic Opera”

Michael Ainger

in Gilbert and Sullivan

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147698
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849437 | DOI:
1888–1889 “I Have Lost the Liking for Writing Comic Opera”

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Arthur Sullivan left for the south of France, crossing over from Calais on a “special” boat with the Prince of Wales and Reuben Sassoon. After supper with the prince in Calais, Sullivan and Sassoon continued their journey to Paris, and Sullivan then went on to Monte Carlo. By now, Sullivan's reputation as a gambler was being talked about in the press. Visits to the casino did not improve his mental state. He was still in low spirits, with the pressure of having to do another comic opera weighing on him, whereas he much preferred the idea of writing a grand opera—with William Gilbert, if that were possible. If Sullivan wanted to write a grand opera, Gilbert suggested Julian Sturgis as the “best serious librettist of the day.” This was not the reply Sullivan expected or wanted; it did nothing to lift him out of his despondency.

Keywords: Arthur Sullivan; France; Calais; Reuben Sassoon; Monte Carlo; casino; comic opera; grand opera; William Gilbert; Julian Sturgis

Chapter.  5221 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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