1889 The Gondoliers

Michael Ainger

in Gilbert and Sullivan

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147698
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849437 | DOI:
1889 The Gondoliers

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A scenario for The Gondoliers, which dates almost exactly from this point in the construction of the opera, was sent to Arthur Sullivan. It still includes what has been called the “growling chorus,” which Sullivan wanted cut and which was replaced by “For Everyone Who Feels Inclined.” In a letter to Sullivan, William Gilbert objected to the idea of cutting this number. Gilbert was deliberately exaggerating and was unable to convince Sullivan. A second chorus was cut; the political satire was weakened, but it was not lost; and the substitute song from Gilbert (“Rising Early in the Morning”) was more in keeping with the joyful mood of the opera. The piece was to lose its fifteenth-century dating and to finish up somewhere in the eighteenth; Sullivan understood perfectly well that Gilbert's pieces only looked realistic, but all took place in some timeless “fairyland”—part of their enduring charm.

Keywords: Gondoliers; opera; Arthur Sullivan; chorus; William Gilbert; satire; fairyland

Chapter.  4785 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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