Sir Arthur Sullivan


Today is Sir Arthur Sullivan‘s birthday (1842 – 1900).

Here is an excerpt from Frye’s student review for Acta Victoriana of the Music Club’s April 1933 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.

But here, in the calm hush and cloister-quiet of Gate House, the artistic conscience of the Music Club rises to defend itself.  If there ever was a time when Pinafore could be well done, it argues, that time has long since passed.  Considered as a whole the farce is clumsy and ill-conceived, besides being unendurably hackneyed, and it simply cannot be sustained on its own momentum.  No human power can prevent that unspeakable finale from dragging painfully to a limping and inept close.  All the standard actors of the Music Club are good for lots of entertainment, says the conscience, but they could do nothing with their parts; they had to kick them off the stage and substitute themselves.  The cast of characters in Pinafore are all stuffed shirts and artificially bulged chemises, O critic, but those who took their places are wholesome happy youngsters who are all friends of yours, and you for one know that the fairy changelings are infinitely more attractive. (CW, 17. 233-4)

Frye’s doubts about the contemporary appeal of Gilbert and Sullivan notwithstanding, after the jump there’s a delightful version of “The Sun, Whose Rays Are All Ablaze” from Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy, a wonderful film about the creation of The Mikado.  Yes, and okay, there’s a performance of “Three Little Maids From School” from the same film too.  (If you haven’t already seen this movie, put it on top of your list.)



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