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Musique: Arthur Sullivan • Paroles: Basil Hood • Livret: Basil Hood • Production originale: 2 versions mentionnées
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Genèse: When the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership collapsed after the production of The Gondoliers in 1889, impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte struggled to find successful new works for the Savoy Theatre. He was able to bring Gilbert and Sullivan together briefly for two more operas (Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke), neither of which was a great success. He also paired Sullivan with several other librettists, but none of the resulting operas were particularly successful. Carte's other new pieces for the Savoy in the 1890s had done no better. In Basil Hood, Sullivan finally found a congenial new collaborator, giving the Savoy its first significant success since the early 1890s. Sullivan worked together on the new piece, originally entitled Hassan, over the summer of 1899. Unlike W. S. Gilbert, Hood did not direct his own works, and the Savoy's stage manager, Richard Barker, acted as stage director. Costumes were designed by Percy Anderson. The casting of the soprano to play the leading role of the Sultana Zubedyah was problematic. Sullivan had been much impressed by the American high soprano Ellen Beach Yaw, and he prevailed upon the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company to cast her in the role. Leading soprano Ruth Vincent quit the company when she was passed over for the role (although she soon played the Sultana in New York). Sullivan wrote a special high cadenza for one of Yaw's songs, "'Neath My Lattice," to show off her extraordinary range. Yaw's first two nights were shaky, though the reviews were mixed, and both the music director, Francois Cellier, and Mrs. Carte advocated her replacement. Sullivan at first agreed, though writing in his diary on 2 December 1899, "I don’t quite see what it’s all about — Miss Yaw is not keeping people out of the theatre as Cellier and the Cartes imply." By 10 December, however, he wrote in his diary that Yaw was "improving rapidly" and "sang the song really superbly: brilliant. So I wrote again to Mrs. Carte saying that I thought if we let Miss Yaw go it would be another mistake." It was too late, however, and the next day Yaw was dismissed summarily by Mrs. Carte (ostensibly on account of illness). Isabel Jay was promoted to play the part. The first performance, on 29 November 1899, was a reassuring success – the first that the Savoy had enjoyed since Utopia Limited six years earlier. The piece played for a total of 211 performances, closing on 28 June 1900, and D'Oyly Carte touring companies soon were performing The Rose of Persia around the British provinces and then throughout the English-speaking world. In New York, it opened at Daly's Theatre on 6 September 1900, closing on 29 September 1900 after 25 performances. Ruth Vincent played the Sultana, Hassan was John Le Hay, the Sultan was Charles Angelo, and Yussuf was Sidney Bracy. After Rose proved to be a hit, Sullivan and Hood teamed up again, but the composer died, leaving their second collaboration, The Emerald Isle, unfinished. The Rose of Persia was Sullivan's last completed opera. Rose is firmly reminiscent of the style of the earlier Savoy successes, with its topsy-turvy plot, mistaken identities, the constant threat of executions, an overbearing wife, and a fearsome monarch who is fond of practical joking. Although critics found Hood inferior to Gilbert, his delight in comic word-play at times resembles the work of his great predecessor. With its episodic plot, its exotic setting, and its emphasis on dance numbers, Rose also takes a step towards musical comedy, which by 1899 was the dominant genre on the London stage. The only professional British revival of The Rose of Persia was at Princes Theatre in London from 28 February 1935 to 23 March 1935, closing after 25 performances. This immediately followed a successful revival of Merrie England by Hood and Edward German. The producer, R. Claude Jenkins, hoped to make the Princes the home of a series of British light opera, but the disappointing response to The Rose of Persia quashed these plans. In recent decades, interest in performing the work has revived among amateur and professional societies. The work has been seen several times at The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England (most recently in concert in 2008), and the Festival has a video of the 2008 performance available. The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players performed the opera at New York City Center in January 2007. The St. David's Players of Exeter in the UK performed the piece in October 2009 having previously presented it in October 1990. The first recording of The Rose of Persia was released in 1963 by St. Albans Amateur Operatic Society. Another recording was made in 1985 by Prince Consort, and one was produced for BBC Music Magazine in 1999. Although the BBC recording is the most professionally produced, many fans prefer the earlier recordings.
Résumé: Hassan is a rich philanthropist who entertains beggar-men at his house, much to the dismay of his 25 wives. The Sultana, escaping the strict confines of the royal household, hides in Hassan's house with her three favourite slaves disguised as dancing girls. She is followed by the Sultan, who is bored with his obligations, accompanied by his three top officials. Hassan, while under the influence of the drug bhang, admits to the Sultan that the Sultana is in his house, thus compromising her life and his own. To punish Hassan (and to give himself a little holiday), the Sultan takes him to the palace and commands his court to treat Hassan as if he were sultan.
Création: 29/11/1899 - Savoy Theatre (Londres) - représ.
Musique: Arthur Sullivan • Paroles: Basil Hood • Livret: Basil Hood • Production originale: 0 version mentionnée
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Genèse: The Emerald Isle (1901) was the last score undertaken by Sir Arthur Sullivan, who died before completing it. It was begun after the success of The Rose of Persia (1899) and on the promise of a libretto of that opera's caliber, which had stimulated Sullivan as few had in a decade. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte contracted Edward German to complete the score after Sullivan's death. German was well-known for his orchestral music, incidental music scores, ballads, and a few short operettas. His talents had been publicly acknowledged by Sullivan before the elder composer's death. Sullivan completed only the first two numbers in full score. Many of the rest he had sketched out. The untouched numbers are mostly solo material -- which he would have relied on the soloists to learn and execute quickly -- and the finale to act two -- which would have been a reprise, also easy to learn quickly. It would be nice to say that Sullivan's last work was, if not the culmination of a 30 year career in music, at least another jewel in what was already a rather stunning operatic crown. There are moments of musical inspiration, but in general the opera is tailor-made for Sullivan's talents, which remained for the most part unchallenged. Not that the score is devoid of some musical gems from Sullivan's pen. David Eden praises the "Da Luan, da mort" chorus and the solo and chorus that close the first act as reminiscent of "the dreamy melancholy of the Celtic feeling, profoundly felt, but remote and steeped in the past." One might add to these the trio "On the heights of Glauntaun." Eden also praises the act one finale ("Come away, sighs the fairy voice") as "quite simply the most beautiful tune of his [Sullivan's] career; it is as lovely as the Londonderry Air itself." The opening chorus offers neat juxtaposition of voices and dancing, and Sullivan's last double chorus appears later in the act (no. 12). There is also a "Rataplan" number to remind listeners of Cox and Box , the composer's first stage work. One of this author's favorite songs in the entire Sullivan canon is "Oh, have you met a man in debt" from act two, especially as sung so energetically by Alan Borthwick on Prince Consort's 1982 recording. But, in general Sullivan's contribution to the score is reminiscent rather than fresh. Though he may have captured a "Celtic feeling" once or twice, Sullivan (and Hood) seem content to provide plenty of jigs that are only stereotypically expressive of Ireland. "Sing a rhyme of Once upon a time" in act two must rank at the bottom of Sullivan's accomplishments, and one can only hope that if he had lived he would have improved it. Basil Hood was never able to produce a libretto as consistent as The Rose of Persia, though he continued to attempt to do so after The Emerald Isle. Hood's fondness for felicitous word-play is in full evidence in this opera, though it can become somewhat trying in some places. Also in evidence is Hood's liking for allowing his actors latitude to ad lib, as in the scene in act one involving the hypnotized soldier and the act two scene between the Sergeant and the Countess. Hood's story is tailor-made for the talents of the Savoy's turn-of-the-century team (soprano Isabel Jay, contralto Rosina Brandram, tenor Robert Evett, baritone Henry Lytton, comic Walter Passmore), each of whom is provided with challenging material either as actor or as singer. The conclusion, however, is weak, long in coming, and without the sparkle present even in a work like Ruddigore, whose logical and somewhat legalistic conclusion it resembles. The Emerald Isle holds the Savoy record for the most amount of dialogue between its penultimate number and the finale, dragging in as it does a long scene between the Sergeant and the Countess which includes a recitation in the Sergeant's thick Devonshire accent. The humor of such a scene must have been obvious in performance. The person who comes out best is Edward German, and The Emerald Isle marked him as a composer with a great future in comic opera. He didn't forget the traditions of the Savoy, and in some cases his music is purely imitative. The patter song "Imitation" resembles in meter King Gama's song in Princess Ida. Hood would repeat the meter as well as the general idea in his "Imagination" song in Merrie England, and German would respond with a similar patter tune. The contralto solo also resembles the dozen or so ballads set by Sullivan for Rosina Brandram. German broke no new ground here, and wouldn't do so in Merrie England or A Princess of Kensington -- though the expansive aria in the former is one of the best of the type. There are distinct stylistic differences between the two men, however. German frequently changed time signature during a movement (more prevalent in Merrie England) while Sullivan preferred to stay with the same meter. German was also seldom content to allow material to repeat without some vocal or orchestral variation (for example "'Twas in Hyde Park beside the Row") and in general his vocal lines are more challenging. Most of these characteristics attain full flower in later works, but their beginnings are apparent here. "Good-bye my native town," for example, is a song written as Sullivan never would, as is "I love you, I love you, what joy can compare" which follows immediately afterwards and "Listen! Hearken my lover!" earlier in the act. The soprano solo "Oh setting sun" is a precursor of stunning arias in Merrie England and Tom Jones . The Emerald Isle was produced after the death of Richard D'Oyly Carte, the moving force behind the Gilbert and Sullivan series and the owner and manager of the Savoy Theatre. The opera was produced by his wife Helen, and the management of the company was taken over by William Greet before the end of its 205-performance run. Greet also produced Hood and German's Merrie England (1902) and A Princess of Kensington (1903) and it seemed as if the promise of Gilbert and Sullivan had at last led to a successful comic opera team. But German wearied of Hood and turned to a new librettist and a new theatre for his next opera Tom Jones (1907). German's operatic stage career was cut short by the disastrous experience of Fallen Fairies (1909), the final libretto of W.S. (now Sir William) Gilbert. Thereafter, he devoted himself to orchestral music and conducting.
Résumé: A jolly spoof-Irish chorus introduces the hero, Terence O'Brien, an Irish patriot who, as he claims in song, is 'descended from Brian Boru'. But, alas, he speaks with an English accent, having been brought up in 'the luxurious lap of London'. He is not alone, however. All his countrymen now speak with an English accent for the English Viceroy has been giving elocution lessons in the infant schools and now there's not a man nor a colleen here that could dance an Irish jig correctly, and say 'Begorra' at the end of it with any conviction. To the village comes one Professor Bunn, 'Mesmerist, Ventriloquist, Humorist and General Illusionist, Shakespearian Reciter, Character Impersonator and Professor of Elocution. Children's Parties a Speciality'. He has been employed by the Lord Lieutenant for his re-education programme but offers to change sides and re-teach the Irish how to be precisely that. Terence is anxious to meet up with his sweetheart, Rosie, who is, unfortunately, none other than the daughter of the Lord Lieutenant. It is arranged that Terence shall hide out in the reputedly haunted caves of Carric-Cleena, and that Rosie shall come to him there. But Bunn notifies the Lord Lieutenant of their plans, and the Irish are obliged to find a subterfuge to keep the redcoats away. They decide that Molly, one of their number, shall appear as the fairy, Cleena, and Bunn as an ancient who has been held captive by her for fifty years, and thus they shall scare away the superstitious Devonshire soldiers. The first act ends with them bringing their trick off successfully. The second act carries on in much the same vein. Bunn goes through his paces, Terence and Rosie pursue their romance and Molly carries on with the hereditary 'blind' fiddler, Pat Murphy, who dares not confess his perfect sight for fear of losing her sympathy and love. When the Lord Lieutenant descends upon them all, Bunn succeeds in saving the 'rebels' by proclaiming: "If we had guessed (as we ought to have guessed) that you, being a scion of a noble English house, had so much American blood in your composition, we should not have rebelled against you. America is the friend of Ireland. You are an English nobleman. Therefore you are, nowadays, more than half American. Therefore you are our friend.. ."
Création: 27/4/1901 - Savoy Theatre (Londres) - 205 représ.
Musique: Edward German • Paroles: Basil Hood • Livret: Basil Hood • Production originale: 6 versions mentionnées
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Merrie England is an English comic opera in two acts by Edward German to a libretto by Basil Hood. The patriotic story concerns love and rivalries at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, when a love letter sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to one of Queen Elizabeth’s Ladies in Waiting, Bessie Throckmorton, ends up in the hands of the queen. Well-known songs from the opera include "O Peaceful England", "The Yeomen of England" and "Dan Cupid hath a Garden".
Genèse: It opened at the Savoy Theatre in London on 2 April 1902, under the management of William Greet, and ran for 120 performances, closing on 30 July 1902. The piece then toured while the Kitty Loftus Company played at the Savoy. The production reopened at the Savoy on 24 November 1902 for 56 additional performances, ending on 17 January 1903. It starred Henry Lytton, Louie Pounds, Rosina Brandram, Robert Evett and Walter Passmore, among other regulars of the Savoy. The opera became popular in Britain and was often performed by amateur groups in the decades following its premiere. In Queen Elizabeth II's coronation year (1953), over five hundred amateur societies staged the piece. Merrie England was recorded complete with its composer conducting, issued by HMV in 1918 on ten double-faced 12-inch 78 rpm records (20 sides). A recording of selections from the piece was made in 1931 on the Columbia label, with Clarence Raybould conducting "Under the Supervision" of the composer. Since then, a few more complete recordings have been made, including an HMV set in 1960, and individual songs from Merrie England have been recorded many times. Despite its lively and accessible music and libretto, the piece has fallen into relative obscurity in recent decades, although anniversaries such as that of the Armada in 1988 and the queen's silver (1977), golden (2002) and diamond (2012) jubilee years have seen many revivals. Opera South produced a revival in February 2012. Professional revivals in 2012, the year of the queen's diamond jubilee, included a production by the Finborough Theatre in London.[
Résumé: The opera deals with love and rivalries at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, a monarch jealous of Sir Walter Raleigh's affection for Bessie Throckmorton, revealed to her by the Earl of Essex. It perpetuates the fiction that the England of Good Queen Bess was actually merry and includes the well known song for the Queen, O peaceful England, and the stirring The Yeomen of England as well as the ballad Dan Cupid hath a Garden.
Création: 2/4/1902 - Savoy Theatre (Londres) - représ.
Merrie England (1902-04-Savoy Theatre-London)Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Savoy Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 3 mois 4 semaines Nombre : 120 représentationsPremière Preview : Wednesday 02 April 1902Première : Wednesday 02 April 1902Dernière : Wednesday 30 July 1902Mise en scène : Basil Hood • Chorégraphie : ???? ???? • Producteur :
Merrie England (1902-11-Savoy Theatre-London)Type de série: Return Engagement
Théâtre: Savoy Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 1 mois 3 semaines Nombre : 56 représentationsPremière Preview : Monday 24 November 1902Première : Monday 24 November 1902Dernière : Saturday 17 January 1903Mise en scène : Basil Hood • Chorégraphie : ???? ???? • Producteur :