Oh, Joy! Oh, Rapture!
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Albert Bergeret, conductor and music director
"Hail, hail, the gang's all here!" What better way to begin this sampling of our company's enthusiasm for G&S than with the original chorus from Pirates of Penzance whose melody was later borrowed for those familiar words?
With cat-like tread TRACK 1
the most popular of the G&S collaborations and only nominally Japanese, is one of several works for which Gilbert chose an exotic setting as a thin disguise for the English society of which he was making fun. Even Nanki-Poo's famed catalogue of song includes only standard English offerings; sentimental parlour ballads, martial music, and sea chanteys!
A wand'ring minstrel I TRACK 2
Comes a train of little ladies TRACK 3
Three little maids from school TRACK 4
A more humane Mikado TRACK 5
spoofs the Aesthetic movement (Whistler, Oscar Wilde) but, more broadly, the excesses of any fad or cult and its mindless followers. In this piece, one of the idols gives a "how to" recipe for posing successfully as a cult icon.
Am I alone and unobserved? TRACK 6
the 2nd full-length G&S collaboration (1878), is only half as long as The Mikado (1885). While later works became more subtle, complex, and elaborate, Pinafore has a palette of bright primary colors and needs no apology for its relative simplicity; it is a model of brevity and clarity, and estabished the pattern of Gilbert's witty poking of fun at social and individual human foibles, perfectly set off by Sullivan's music. The more pretentious Titanic sank, but this saucy ship has proven virtually indestructible. Our selections are the pieces with which the characters introduce themselves.
I am the Captain of the Pinafore TRACK 7
I'm called Little Buttercup TRACK 8
I am the monarch.. When I was a lad TRACK 9
The Yeomen of the Guard
is the most "operatic" of the Gilbet & Sullivan works, full of rich texture and subtle color. Sullivan's stirring overture is one of his finest orchestral settings. In the first chorus, a tough 16th century street crowd is brilliantly evoked by Gilbert's use of archaic vocabulary with alliteration and by Sullivans' use of hard driving rhythms with angular uneven meters, jarring dissonance and stark modal harmony. In "I have a song to sing" each verse is longer than the last; its structure finds many precedents in English folksong and was inspired by a sea chantey sung by the crewmen on Gilbert's yacht. The lyrics mirror the story of the opera's central love triangle the way Jack Point wishes it would turn out; the next selection, "When a wooer goes a-wooing," presents the reality of what actually happens. In between comes a paean to the grim glory of the Tower of London, where the story is set in a historical context.
Overture TRACK 10
Here's a man...I have a song to sing, O TRACK 11
When our gallant Norman foes TRACK 12
When a wooer goes a-wooing TRACK 13
presents a world where "all is merry May." It is as sunny and upbeat as Yeomen is shadowed. The first selection here is extracted from the ebullient 20-minute musical extravaganza that opens the work, rich in Italianate melodies and Italian lyrics to set the mood. The second selection poses a universal Gilbertian philosophic point: "take life as it comes."
Buon giorno... We're called gondolieri TRACK 14
Try we lifelong TRACK 15
The Pirates of Penzance
is the most "child-friendly" of the G&S, with its colorful pirates, comic police, and nearly non-stop action. It also contains the best-known and most often parodied pattersong and, in "Poor Wand'ring One," not only a splendid aria for a coloratura soprano but an example of one of Sullivan's deliberate and delicious borrowings from other composers; here, the classic "Sempre libera" from La traviata. We leave you with the first, and still one of the best, of the G&S "double choruses," as the Victorian maidens rapturously romanticize "death and glory" to the more realistically apprehensive policemen.
Hail, Poetry TRACK 16
I am the very model TRACK 17
Poor wand'ring one TRACK 18
When the foeman bares his steel TRACK 19
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Albert Bergeret, Artistic Director
Andrea Stryker-Rodda, Assistant Music Director and Rehearsal Accompanist
Lucy Ito, Sally Small, Production Assistants
Larry Tietze, Orchestra Manager
SOPRANOS: Robin Bartunek, Meredith Borden, Kimilee Bryant, Susan Case, Charlotte Detrick, Lynelle Johnson, Margaretha Ohse, Laurelyn Watson, Lauren Wenegrat
ALTOS: Lee Berman, Victoria Devany, Laura Koeneman, Melissa Parks, Ariane Reinhart, Angela Smith, Maariana Vikse, Lara Wilson
TENORS: Michael Connolly, Thomas Donelan, Michael Galante, Michael Scott Harris, Alan Hill, Keith Jameson, Mark Montague, Larry Raiken, Paul Sigrist
BARITONES/BASSES: Christopher Briggs, Louis Dall'Ava, Gary Dimon, Richard Holmes, Keith Jurosko, Lance Olds, Stephen Quint, Philip Reilly, Samuel Shaw, William Whitefield
VIOLINS: Andrea Andros, concertmistress, Paula Flatow, Rachel Heineman, Valerie Levy, Maxim Moston, Eleanor Schiller, Svetoslav Slavov, Peter Van DeWater, William Zinn
VIOLAS: Carol Benner, Carol Landon
CELLOS: Daniele Doctorow, Amy Camus
BASS: Deb Spohnheimer
FLUTES: Laura George, Margaret Swinchoski,
OBOE: Nancy Ranger
CLARINETS: Larry Tietze, Joan Porter, Renee Rosen
BASSOONS: Andrea Herr, James Jeter
FRENCH HORNS: Heidi Garson, Peter Hirsch
TRUMPETS: Terry Sizor, Richard Titone
TROMBONES: Steve Shulman, Paul Geidel, Joseph Stanko
PERCUSSION: Michael Osrowitz