Gilbert and Sullivan: Interviews and Recollections

Harold Orel, Editor
Harold Orel, Editor University of Iowa Press $29.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-87745-442-7
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-0-87745-476-2
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The 39 recollections presented here by Orel, a professor of English at the University of Kansas, are culled from the published writings of critics, musicians, singers, journalists, friends and others who were close to William Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900), the team best remembered for such popular comic operas as H.M.S. Pinafore , The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. Supplemented by Orel's extensive notes, the testimonials comprise a dual biography documenting the achievements of the men together and singly, and demonstrating that each had a successful career on his own. Gilbert, one of the major satirists of his day, was the author of numerous plays and poems, and Sullivan was a respected conductor and a composer of sacred music, songs and serious opera. The two emerge as very different personalities from each other: Gilbert had a biting wit and a domineering nature, while Sullivan was known for his easy-going manner and penchant for gambling. Savoyards will appreciate these reminiscences, which illuminate many aspects of a remarkable collaboration, but others may tire of the long-winded and frequently digressive Victorian prose. (Apr.)
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