Sir Arthur wrote a few operas with other librettists, including Francis Burnand and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Wake Forest, NC (Vocus) April 29, 2009
WCPE's Opera House host Bob Chapman celebrates the birth of Sir Arthur Sullivan, born May 13, 1842, with a special performance of 'The Gondoliers'. The tribute is the next Saturday after the Metropolitan Opera season concludes, May 2, 2009 at 1 p.m. ET.
"In short, whoever you may be, to this conclusion you'll agree," sings Don Alhambra del Bolero (The Grand Inquisitor) to Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri, the two Venetian gondoliers who have temporarily been appointed co-Kings of Barataria. "When everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody."
"Sullivan is known for the 14 operas he wrote with Sir William Gilbert," says Chapman.
"'The Gondoliers', which premiered in 1889, was their last joint effort."
The story takes place partly in Venice and partly in a kingdom ruled by a pair of gondoliers who attempt to remodel the monarchy in a spirit of "republican equality." Shamelessly borrowing from Verdi's Il Trovatore, a nursemaid switches babies, which leads to the problem of identifying which of the gondoliers is the rightful king.
"Although they seem to be joined at the hip as 'Gilbert O'Sullivan'," continues Chapman, "Sir Arthur wrote a few operas with other librettists, including Francis Burnand and Alfred Lord Tennyson."
Burnand's 'The Contrabandista' is set in Spain and involves an English tourist who's forced to become leader of a band of brigands. In 1892, Sullivan wrote the music for Tennyson's 'The Foresters', an absolutely silly setting of the Robin Hood and Maid Marian story.
Sir Malcolm Sargent leads the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and the Pro Arte Orchestra in a 1957 recording of 'The Gondoliers', starring Richard Lewis, John Cameron, Elsie Morrison, Marjorie Thomas, Geraint Evans, Monica Sinclair, Edna Graham, Alexander Young, Owen Brannigan and Helen Watts. Ronald Corp conducts the New London Orchestra and the London Chorus in a 2004 CD of 'The Contrabandista' and 'The Foresters'.
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About Sir Arthur Sullivan:
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (13 May 1842 - 22 November 1900) was an English composer, of Irish and Italian descent, best known for his operatic collaborations with librettist W. S. Gilbert, including such continually-popular works as 'H.M.S. Pinafore', 'The Pirates of Penzance', and 'The Mikado'. Sullivan's artistic output included 23 operas, 13 major orchestral works, eight choral works and oratorios, two ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous hymns and other church pieces, songs, parlour ballads, part songs, carols, and piano and chamber pieces.
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