I can’t remember exactly when I was introduced to the works of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Looking back, it seems like they were always part of the landscape of my life. My mother had a complete set of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s recordings of the G&S comic operas and these were played often enough to be seem like an always-already-there family tradition.
By the time I actually saw my first live production, the patter-songs were an accepted part of life. We all got to know the words and my older brother in particular could reel them off with remarkable accuracy and speed. One of the outcomes is that ‘I am the very model of a modern major general…’ was where I first hear of quadratic equations and also where I learned the difference between a mauser and a javelin!
Our family habit of making reference to G&S with comments such as ‘..a policeman’s lot is not a happy one...’ sometimes got us funny looks from more mundane individuals. This eventually alerted me to the fact that not all families sat around listening to – and singing along with – light opera 🙂
Much to my delight the G&S Society of WA scheduled two productions for this year. The first of these was The Gondoliers – and what a hoot it was! Although I’d heard a recording of the Gondoliers many times, I’d never seen it performed – and the two simply don’t compare. The costuming was spectacular (I want a dress like that!), the orchestra outstanding and the interplay between the characters hilarious – particularly the Trumpesque Duke of Plaza-Toro 🙂
All round it was a most entertaining evening and we’re all looking forward to the September production of Patience. Bookings open in June – don’t miss it!