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Theatre, as we know it, always aims to provoke its audience through emotions, by invoking the muses of comedy and tragedy, and everything else in between. Many names are synonymous to the history and success of theatre, but none comes close to the iconic contributions of Britain’s most illustrious duo, collectively known as Gilbert and Sullivan. Sharp, clever wit and brilliant rhyme have found their rightful places in the theatrical masterpieces composed by renowned playwright William S. Gilbert, and his equally-profound partner, composer Arthur Sullivan.
The 1870s marked the beginning of a new ideology in musical theatre, as the partnership brought to the fore previously unheard-of standards that were identified by a mix of intelligence in satire and silliness, as well as melodic instrumentations that complement the passion and creativity of the written word. Such was the success of the outcome that Gilbert and Sullivan managed to pioneer and influence generations of theatre innovations, and eventually, become a solid pillar in both British and American popular culture.
Musical comedy writers, Broadway lyricists, literary authors and composers—and even important names in politics and government—are just some of those who have credited Gilbert and Sullivan for a number of their works. Through the excellent vision of production genius Richard D’Oyly Carte, the impressive collaborations of Gilbert and Sullivan were set to stage. The Savoy Theatre in London, Carte’s headquarters, became the setting for many of the duo’s memorable musicals.
Innovative from the beginning, The Savoy was the first theatre in the world to utilize electricity, and summoned theatre-goers all over to sample this taste of technology as well as the brilliance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works, which were later aptly named “Savoy Operas” (Kenrick, 2000-2003).
The Gilbert and Sullivan era spanned from 1871 to 1896, and between them they were able to create fourteen critically-acclaimed and hugely popular masterpieces—counting The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and H. M. S.
Pinafore as the most widely-received. II. William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, The Beginning The young William Gilbert (1836-1911) was the son of a naval surgeon by profession, and a writer by interest. He jumpstarted his son’s juvenile career by allowing the boy to accompany his articles with illustrations; William soon found his own talent for writing, and came up with his own compositions. These writings, called Bab Ballads, would later find their way into some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most acclaimed musicals.
Gilbert’s Bab Ballads were known for their unique use of humor played out through logic (Classic Gilbert and Sullivan). Mike Leigh, English film and theatre director, concludes this style to be decidedly one that had Gilbert’s signature, where the establishment of the strange, absurd, and otherwise unacceptable concept would be expertly formed into perfect examples of reason and truth—all done with a bite of silliness metamorphosing into deadpan prose.
On the other hand, the musical inclinations of Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) also had strong parental influences—his father was a bandmaster with the military, and the then 8-year-old Arthur had already become expert in all the band instruments. In 1856, after concluding his initial attempts of composing songs and anthems in school, Arthur proceeded to claim the first Mendelssohn Prize, and took further studies in composition and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as in Leipzig.
He performed his 1861 graduation piece, an ode to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, at the Crystal Palace; this earned him the prestige of being heralded as the country’s most promising young composer. Among Sullivan’s applauded works early in his career were The Masque at Kenilworth (1842), The Prodigal Son (1869), On Shore and Sea (1871), and a ballet entitled L’lle Enchantee (1864) (Classic Gilbert and Sullivan). William Gilbert’s and Arthur Sullivan’s paths crossed as they attended a rehearsal of the play Ages Ago, where the composer Frederic Clay made introductions.
A couple of years after that, Gilbert and Sullivan made their first foray as co-creators of what would be a uniquely wonderful style admired by the whole world. III. Gilbert and Sullivan and the Comic Opera A staple of English theatre during the Edwardian era, the comic opera’s origins come from 18th-century Naples, in Italy. Known as intermezzi, short comic routines were used to end the bigger acts, and enjoyed much popularity that they were later written to exist on their own.
The final output was the comic opera, the concept of which was soon transported to Paris, where it easily claimed the approval of French dramatists and audiences. However, the same could not be said upon its arrival on English territory, for theatre professionals and enthusiasts at the time were still more interested in evolving the popular Ballad Opera and the newer form of Music Hall; the latter was introduced to fill the need for a lighter, less serious entertainment style. Finally, in 1871, the comic opera was launched in London’s Gaiety Theatre, through the production of Thespis; or the Gods Grown Old.
This not only marked a new chapter in British theatre, but also the first entry of the long-running collaboration of musical theatre’s most prestigious partnership—Gilbert and Sullivan. It all started with the efforts of John Hollingshead, then manager of the Gaiety Theatre, who employed Gilbert’s expertise to write the libretto of his theatre’s 1871 Christmas musical. They had worked together once before, on the burlesque Robert the Devil which also ran in Gaiety. To complete the requirement for the musical, Hollingshead contacted Sullivan, who was then still inexperienced in stage production.
This first encounter produced Thespis, but was initially given much criticism and low confidence in the team. Four years later, the producer Carte would bring them back together to create Trial By Jury; the resulting 300 performances declared it a resounding success, as well as a much-awaited approval of the partnership. Perhaps the foremost appeal of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works had much to do with their ability to poke fun and humor at establishment, as well as current social and political issues.
This was a high time for patriotism in Britain, and the British audience’s validation of the comic operas sealed the career success of the duo. Much of the credit would also have to go to the newness of concept and execution of each piece, that even foreign audiences understood and appreciated the essence of every performance. To this day, comic opera will always be defined by Gilbert and Sullivan—they truly made it their niche, and those that attempted to surpass or equal their achievements failed to do so (Gillan, 2007).
Of the fourteen collaborative works of the famed partnership, many were lauded as icons of comic opera. These were the celebrated productions of Thespis: or the Gods Grown Old, Trial By Jury (1975), The Sorcerer (1877), and of course, the previously-mentioned The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and H. M. S. Pinafore. Thespis: or the Gods Grown Old, being Gilbert and Sullivan’s first collaboration, had no real indications of the phenomenal future awaiting its two creators.
Yet the classic Gilbert and Sullivan format was already applied in the work, by setting the opera in the mythical Mount Olympus. In the story, the gods have all grown old and the celestial buildings were all in a state of ruin. Then a group of actors and their leader named Thespis went up the mountain to have a picnic, and noticed the sad condition of the place. Thespis gets into a deal with Jupiter, agreeing that his group would take on the work of the tired gods, provided that Mercury would remain to brief them of their duties.
But things do not go as planned, and Mercury only noted all complaints. When the gods on break finally return, they discover the unsatisfactory results and banish the group back to earth. 1875’s Trial By Jury made use of an old legal procedure as the main idea, specifically a ‘breach of promise’ trial. This often took place in earlier times, when a man could be summoned to court and sued for taking back a marriage proposal. The characters included a dashing, worldly bachelor and the woman who called for the hearing, a maiden dressed in wedding attire.
An all-male jury and an unscrupulous judge round up the cast, with the woman directing her flirtations toward the jury but would end up receiving a proposal from the judge himself—as a way to resolve the case. The storyline established prevailing comic themes that would later be present in most of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works: (1) true and undying love may come from and end in unexpected sources and directions; (2) the existence of politicians who achieved their public status by charming and lying their way through, and (3) aversion for mature women, specifically those over 40—which is, in truth, a nod to patriarchy and sexism.
Two years later, Gilbert and Sullivan produced The Sorcerer, which featured a man of magic who brings chaos and confusion to a tiny English village by creating a love potion. In many ways, The Sorcerer made a satire of class distinction and social propriety, which were standard elements in Victorian society. Yet in true Gilbert and Sullivan style, the output was of inimitable wit and class that the references were not declared offensive at all—so much was its success that aside from its own numerous showings, The Sorcerer was staged even as far as America, albeit unauthorized.
And while the opera’s theme could have been translated by the French through a multitude of sexual innuendos and references played out by unreal, fantastic characters, Gilbert and Sullivan designed The Sorcerer with roles that were utterly believable and credible—the kind of people that actually exist in everyday life, that the British audience could identify. The penchant for poking fun at British social conventions became Gilbert and Sullivan’s running objective, and in 1878 they again succeeded in producing a successful show that audiences celebrated.
H. M. S. Pinafore once again uses love as a theme, but a deeper reading would reveal that the opera tackles the discussion of England’s class society. With the narrative centering on the daughter of a naval captain’s rejection of the Secretary of the Navy—the highest-ranking man of uniform—for the affections of a common sailor, H. M. S. Pinafore showcases the reality of a person born into a particular class, and the availability of options based on this system.
It is also a criticism of their society’s double standard on the issue of marriage; they patronize literature’s ideals about love conquering all, while in real life they disapprove of unions between people of different social classes. This time, audiences were not as forgiving as they were with The Sorcerer—the prevailing adherence and respect for the British class system caused low ticket sales. That, as well as the unrelenting hot weather pulled Gilbert and Sullivan’s celebrity down—for a moment.
During Sullivan’s summer concerts, he came up with the smart strategy to include several medleys of his Pinafore score; the result was a revived interest in the opera, and eventually sales and attendance reached phenomenal heights. Such was the success of the opera that it encouraged Carte to involve Gilbert and Sullivan in the actual business, dividing all production expenses and sales profits among the three of them. From this point on, Gilbert and Sullivan were given decision-making authority in all their productions.
However, because of the opera’s impact on the British audiences, many unauthorized production of Pinafore were staged, particularly in the United States, where international copyright laws were not yet in place. To assert ownership, Carte brought the production overseas where it enjoyed a brief yet successful run in Broadway, and made sure that Gilbert and Sullivan’s works were covered by copyright laws in the country. Carte had this foremost on his mind when Gilbert and Sullivan came up with yet another opera destined for iconic status, 1880’s Pirates of Penzance.
This time, Carte protected the production rights both in Britain and New York, which established the legal precedents still observed today. The move has benefited playwrights and writers all over the world, with this initial case on intellectual property rights. Love as an ideal is again the running theme in Penzance, as the story explores the adventures of a young man named Frederick who, by no choice of his own, worked under the tutelage of a group of pirates.
As luck would have it, he falls for the daughter of a Major General—a momentous experience that drove him to make up for his previous deeds by eliminating the pirates he used to be associated with. The pirates in question actually turned out to be noblemen who made the wrong choices in life; in the end, they, including Frederick, all take the Major’s many daughters as their wives. There was no stopping the success of Gilbert and Sullivan, and they forged on to firmly claim their place in popular culture.
Several productions were created, among them Patience (1881), which told of the poet’s charm and magnetism, a surefire way to get his way with the women, except for the one he wants—who is but a simple milkmaid. Written as a comedy, Patience ultimately focused on aestheticism, which referred to an artist’s or writer’s obsession with beauty. Carte employed a brilliant marketing strategy to promote the production, with the assistance of famed writer Oscar Wilde.
The writer was tasked to do the lecture circuit around the United States, to provide a full background on this new ideology, and to ensure public awareness of the opera. Not surprisingly, this tactic resulted in positive financial reaction. With Patience, Gilbert and Sullivan introduced another innovation, this time with the characters of the opera narrative and the songs assigned to them. In their previous works, the duo’s main goal to put a message across was met; the technical level of the story itself remained the way it was from their early projects.
Not the kinds to stay within their comfort zones, Gilbert and Sullivan expanded their competencies as playwrights by integrating the characters with music—producing songs and personalities that were exclusive to each other, and the situations they were in. Comic opera was what people called the Gilbert and Sullivan theatre style; in reality, it was the birth of the integrated musical. The partnership, while perfect on an intellectual realm, was slowly revealing its cracks caused by the personal differences of the two artists.
Gilbert was apparently so taken with the love potion plot—which he successfully delivered in The Sorcerer—and wanted to create another opera using the same idea. This was not taken positively by Sullivan, who soon decided, on impulse, to focus more on serious projects. Of course, Gilbert did not take this well either, and the beginning of what would be a personal feud between the two took its place. Carte tried to remedy the situation by staging a rerun of The Sorcerer, only as a stopgap measure for further rifts that may damage company existence and operations.
Fate once again played a major role in the succeeding events, because the partnership was saved by a mundane object—a Japanese sword. It fell from the wall of Gilbert’s study and almost hit him, but instead of dismissing the incident, Gilbert took inspiration from it. This set the tone and plot for Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular opera to date. The Mikado, staged in 1885, carried the same elements that had made the duo famous: love, and social commentary; with a generous helping of humor and wit.
The plot itself was hilarious—it was a scenario questioning what would happen when the Emperor of Japan, know as the Mikado, passes a decree declaring flirting as illegal, and punishable by law. The townsfolk of Titipu refused to follow the new ruling, and consequently appointed Koko, a condemned tailor, as Lord High Executioner. Strangely, the condition for this appointment was for Koko to be beheaded, as he was proven guilty of violating the new law, unless he finds someone to behead first.
Koko manages to find someone to execute, and that was the traveling minstrel named Nanki-Poo, who actually agrees with Koko only if he is allowed to marry the beautiful Yum-Yum—Koko’s fiance. Nanki-Poo was given a month to enjoy the wedded life before he was beheaded and Koko can finally marry Yum-Yum. But soon an old woman named Katisha appears, a representative of the royal court, and announces that Nanki-Poo is really the crown prince—guilty of the crime, as he had flirted with her and tried to escape execution by hiding in the small town.
Eventually, the Mikado himself arrives and declares that his goal for decreeing such an inane ruling was to let the punishment fit the crime. More misunderstandings and deceptions came afterwards, but in the end everyone lives happily ever after. Gilbert and Sullivan decided to use Japan as a setting to create a satire about the British penchant for all things Japanese, during the 1880s. And because it was brilliantly written and the references to British pretensions and petty customs subtle and discreet, audiences failed to make any negative observations and promptly applauded the performance.
Exporting The Mikado to the United States was the right thing to do, for it replicated the success of H. M. S. Pinafore and drove Americans into a Japanese frenzy. The Mikado is the sole musical by Gilbert and Sullivan that had been performed in a variety of languages, and is also their only work that spawned a diplomatic controversy. In 1907, the Crown Prince of Japan came over for a state visit, and immediately the British government ordered a ban on The Mikado; only to discover that one of the Prince’s objectives in visiting Britain was to watch the musical.
To this day, The Mikado is still widely produced and staged worldwide. However, the problem with having a major success in one’s name is the pressure to produce another one of equal or greater impact. In 1887, Gilbert and Sullivan staged Ruddigore, which entailed more melodrama than their previous collaborations. It truly was an accomplished piece, but audiences kept comparing it with The Mikado. Once more, Sullivan was disheartened by this turn of events and threatened to leave the industry altogether and focus on classical compositions instead.
Gilbert tried to change his mind with a new libretto, one that was not an echo of their old work. With The Yeomen of the Guard, an operetta set during the reign of Henry VIII, romance was played out within the constraints of political controversies, as well as the possibility of execution. Sullivan, satisfied with the proposition, proceeded to create a score punctuated with melodrama and emotion, while Gilbert reinvented himself and his style by veering from his usual whimsical comic dialogue. Serious was the best word to use to describe Yeoman, and this became a personal favorite of Sullivan.
The monarchy did not escape the sharp wit of the two, either. In 1889, Gilbert and Sullivan resurrected their signature comic style with the staging of The Gondoliers. A story of a couple of anti-royalist gondoliers from Venice who ironically discover that they have suddenly become kings of a country in the midst of a revolution, Gilbert and Sullivan once again mixed fun and comedy to discuss the idiosyncrasies of the royals and the issues of democracy. The Gondoliers became an instant international hit.
No less than the public-shy Queen Victoria requested for several private performances of The Gondoliers, which validated the immense contribution of Gilbert and Sullivan to musical theatre. But the personal differences between the two icons continued to get in the way of their professional relationship. Some were serious concerns, yet some were downright trivial—such as the argument over the cost of newly-installed carpets in the Savoy Theatre. Carte and his wife ultimately chose to take Sullivan’s side, which resulted in their production of Ivanhoe, Sullivan’s grand opera.
However, this project failed to achieve any semblance of financial success; which was a mirror of Gilbert’s own experience when he went back to writing his own plays. Several years later, the three business partners tried to put everything aside and reconcile, but sadly, they were never able to bring back their glory days. Still, they managed to produce Utopia Limited (1893), another satire of Britain’s unsuccessful efforts in its dealings with other countries; and The Grand Duke (1896), featuring a theatre group’s attempts to claim power in a problematic Germany.
Both productions were of the same make and quality as their previous ones, but neither enjoyed substantial performance durations because of expensive production costs. More than that, it was already apparent that Gilbert and Sullivan no longer had the fresh and intriguing style and creativity that had earned them the respect of audiences worldwide (Kenrick, 2000-2003). IV. Reviews Interesting to note are the reviews made for each of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas, as made by many critics and journalists during the time.
Some of the takes of these writers were documented and used as reference, in order to validate the creative contribution given by the duo. One review for Thespis on its opening night in 1871 commended Gilbert and the magnificent storyline he created, as well as the audience’s superb reception of the play. Credits were specifically given to the talent showcased (Perry, 2001). A Trial By Jury review was not truly exciting—while the critic commended the acting and singing done by the performers, it was the “lateness of the hour” that possibly accounted for the audience’s lackluster reaction (Perry, 2001).
H. F. Frost reviewed The Sorcerer in 1877, and emphasized the effective combination of literary merit and dramatic consistency as created by Gilbert and Sullivan, except that their attempts to subtly mix burlesque and opera was not entirely acceptable. Points were given to the theme of exploring human nature’s weaknesses and imperfections (Perry, 2000). It is evident that H. M. S. Pinafore was a huge crowd favorite, as revealed by a review published in 1878. Pinafore was commended for the use of burlesque but had more humor and charm over Trial By Jury and The Sorcerer.
The satire and libretto were both noted, and gave Gilbert and Sullivan credit for managing to pull it off without great offense to the public. The actors were also adjudged suited to their roles, and the musical one that will remain in the bills for a long time (Perry, 2001). A review made in 1880 of Pirates of Penzance saw it as having several allusions to H. M. S. Pinafore, particularly in the similarities of some of the characters. But the audience was not put off by that observation, and still applauded the cynicism and wit of Gilbert’s words as well as the charm of Sullivan’s music (Perry, 2000). V. The Final Years
Though they never really regained their old camaraderie, Gilbert and Sullivan remained civil to each other until the end. In 1888, Sullivan was granted knighthood, and the former colleagues shared the same stage once more during revivals of their old classics were produced. Later, Sullivan collaborated with other writers to produce several critically-acclaimed operas, including The Emerald Isle in 1900. Sullivan finally passed away at the age of 58, due to a bout of severe bronchitis. Gilbert, on the other hand, got his second wind at the dawn of the new century, with a notable output of librettos and plays.
He eventually received his knighthood in 1907, which was long overdue, but allowed him to experience being touted as a British national living treasure. At age 74, while saving a girl from drowning in his own estate, Gilbert was struck by a fatal heart attack. This happened in late May 1911. The great producer Carte succumbed to the permanent effects of illness in 1901, but his opera company was continued by Helen, his wife, and their son Rupert and his wife. They revived the most acclaimed works of Gilbert and Sullivan throughout the years, until the company closed in 1983 due to financial problems.
But Bridget, Rupert’s wife, left a considerable amount of money to allow a new group of theatre producers to form a new company, which still stages revivals of the famous musicals of Gilbert and Sullivan to this day. VI. The Gilbert and Sullivan Legacy The achievements of Gilbert and Sullivan were nothing less than national milestones, particularly in the reality of class-conscious Britain. The brilliant wit, humor, and music created by the duo gained popularity with all class levels of society, which was a feat it itself.
Apart from that, the team’s theatre philosophy transformed the standard musical preferences to be more attune to popular music, and less concentration on the obscure and exclusive. However, Carte’s company refused to grant performers and directors the freedom to modify each production—every staging had to adhere to the set guidelines of the original team. Critics and audiences could only imagine how fresh eyes and new voices would be able to interpret the tried-and-tested pieces (Wren, 2001). Britain respected the legacy of Gilbert and Sullivan, and their standards of musical theatre bore into all productions made in the late 1800s.
George Edwardes, a producer of comic operas, proved to be the duo’s strongest competitor. He started with the success of Dorothy in 1886, which included a ballad entitled “Queen of My Heart”, that broke all records—even running longer than any of Gilbert and Sullivan’s musicals. But what made Edwardes a respected name was his discovery of a new technique with his production of The Gaiety Girls, a musical named after the famous London theatre. This musical comedy featured many of Gilbert and Sullivan’s standard elements, making it a manifestation of the partnership’s influence on the art.
The Gaiety Girls, like most of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas, carried a theme of love gained and lost. But these musicals only had two general narratives—a poor girl in love with a rich man, and wins him in the end, even in the presence of adversities; and a poor girl who attempts to get out of a marriage she did not want, prompting her to involve other characters on a chase. The music and titles of these musicals all had the same essence, which were really just variations on a theme. Interestingly, the seeming monotony of these musicals were greatly appreciated by the audiences and critics, who preferred them exactly as they were.
But these productions could never stand up against the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, particularly those that had traveled to the United States. This fact awakened the British audience from their stupor, as they had to acknowledge the international receipt of their own culture (Morley, 1987). Needless to say, the Gilbert and Sullivan operas consistently received much acclaim from their American audiences; the staging of H. M. S. Pinafore started a nationwide craze aptly called “Pinafore-mania”. Typical of Americans, the music and songs of Pinafore quickly entered the realm of popular culture, and were included in regular talk.
The classic line “What never? Well, hardly ever! ” from Pinafore became standard replies of people all over, and the phrase “short, sharp stock” that was used in The Mikado to mean “of severe punishment” was borrowed by various writers, artists, commentators and bands. Perhaps the most celebrated American production of a Gilbert and Sullivan original was Pirates of Penzance, which found its way to Broadway in 1981 and enjoyed a run that broke production and staging records. Gilbert, in particular, would often be cited by popular American writers, such as Johnny Mercer, Larry Hart, Alan Jay Lerner, and Stephen Sondheim.
Mercer was even quoted as saying, “We all come from Gilbert”, and Sondheim made a tribute to the famous librettist in “Please Hello” from his work Pacific Overtures (1976). It is probably not far-fetched to assume that Gilbert and Sullivan’s work lent sophistication and class to the existing brand of musicals then; soon after, new generations of musical talents appeared, putting the USA on top of the list. The Boston Ideal Opera Company, more popularly known as The Bostonians, made the rounds of theatres all over the country, and were received well for their outstanding performances.
They included in the repertoire several original American musicals, but were known for their productions of Gilbert and Sullivan works. A listing of American originals that took after the Gilbert and Sullivan tradition is as follows: El Capitan (1896) by John Philip Sousa The Begum (1887) and Robin Hood (1891) by librettist Harry B, Smith and composer Reginald DeKoven The Highwayman (1897), again by Reginald DeKoven (Gillan, 2007). VII. The Gilbert and Sullivan Influence The influence of Gilbert and Sullivan extended all the way to other forms of art ad communication, which included literary works of famous writers.
References to their collaborations are found in the work of writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote a number of stories centered on the puzzles and mysteries of the duo’s operas. One such story was of time travel, where one had to go back in the 1800s to rescue the score to Gilbert and Sullivan’s Thespis (Asimov, 1978). “The Year of the Action” engaged a debate over the actual date of the action in Pirates of Penzance. A story in Asimov’s famous I, Robot, “Runaround”, had a character singing parts of songs from Ruddigore, Patience, and Pinafore.
Cleverly, Asimov concluded his homage to the duo with his story “The Up-To-Date Sorcerer”, which was obviously a parody of The Sorcerer. Legendary British author P. G. Wodehouse was also known to cite Gilbert and Sullivan in his writings, and more often exclusively referred to Gilbert. His novels and short stories included numerous allusions to the team’s work, many to Gilbert’s early Bab Ballads (Robinson, 2006). The film industry also found the works of Gilbert and Sullivan great material for a wealth of movies.
Many of their musicals were adapted into films, including the actors who originally performed in the theatre versions. The Mikado was adapted into a movie in 1939, in full color, for which it won several awards. Also, many films made use of scores composed for a number of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, including The Matchmaker (1958), I Could Go On Singing (1963), The Naughty Victorians (1975), The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (1978), Chariots of Fire (1981), The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989), The Browning Version (1994), and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992).
Television is also another medium that has embraced the Gilbert and Sullivan talent. From The Simpsons to Frasier, from Angel to The West Wing, the duo’s music has been showcased in a variety of scenes and episodes. There was even a show dedicated to spoofs of Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, entitled The Star of Christmas. Video games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas also had visual references of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works, particularly of Pirates of Penzance.
Outside of media, many personalities in politics also found good material in the team’s celebrated works to promote their platforms and ideologies. A “short, sharp stock” remains to be a popular mainstay in many manifestos and debates. VIII. On A Personal Level Though their professional partnership was truly accomplished and proven time and again, it was the personal relationship of Gilbert and Sullivan that had suffered the most.
Collaborations may or may not be successful if the participants are friends; however, artists like Gilbert and Sullivan probably see no boundaries between who they are and what they do. Sullivan was not rich, and as he grew up he mad it a point to mingle with the rich and influential. He met Gilbert, and immediately discovered the parallels in drive and talent in both of them. However, he also saw something else—that Gilbert’s friendship could be the means for him to make his career flourish. Sullivan had many other powerful friends, including Queen Victoria, who advi
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