Friday, 17th March 2023 - 7:30pm

Tickets: Adults £10, Friends £9.50, Students/ES40s £5

Somerset Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers bubbles with good humour and joyous melody – come along for an evening of fun and great music!

The plot is typical Gilbertian absurdity – mistaken identities, babies swapped over in childhood, secret love interest and a ‘big reveal’ twist at the end.  It has some of the most colourful and happy music Sullivan ever wrote, despite his deteriorating health, and Somerset Opera are delighted to be performing it again after a gap of 10 years.

The Gondoliers was the duo’s last great success, and it ran for 554 consecutive performances at the Savoy Theatre, the fifth longest run of ANY piece of musical theatre at the time.  Fun is poked at class distinctions, and by setting it far away from England, Gilbert was also able to have a dig at monarchy as well.  (Perhaps Queen Victoria would otherwise not have been amused!).  In fact, there was a command performance of it at Windsor Castle in 1891, the first theatrical entertainment to take place at Windsor since the death of Prince Albert thirty years earlier.

In 1889 the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership had been taking the London music stage by storm for over 18 years, with hit after hit.   That said, the partnership was by now a bit rocky – Sullivan said he was tired of comic operas and wanted to lean more towards grand opera (their previous collaboration had been the more serious The Yeomen of the Guard.  However, the new piece obviously didn’t put him off too much, and in the opening of The Gondoliers, Gilbert did give the composer his head.  The first 20 minutes are sung throughout and absolutely chockfull of good tunes.

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