A Conversation for Gilbert and Sullivan - Opera-writing Duo

Dramatis Personae

Post 1

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There are, of course, a number of characters that W S Gilbert used repeatedly throughout the canon, presumably so that audiences would aready feel that they 'knew' the characters when the curtain went up.

* The hero (tenor): a bit like the heroes of modern cop series, this chap is basically good (and you know he's going to get the girl in the end) but has some stock character flaw he must overcome first, like being a wandering minstrel, half-man half-fairy, or basically a wet drip with no personality. He's often the son of royalty, too, just to make it that bit easier to identify with him and was usually kidnapped in infancy or mistaken for an identical-looking baby.

* The heroine (soprano): generally a princess or something equally likely, she usually starts the operetta head-over-heels in love with the hero. Obviously, this makes for a rather short story, so there needs to be some reason why they can't get married (she's someone else's ward, or pledged in infancy to someone else, or he's going to be executed the next day) which all has to be resolved over the course of the acts.

* The not-quite hero (baritone): he usually has the job of trying to get off with the heroine, thus persuading the audience of what a good idea it would be if she shagged that drippy hero instead. Alternatively he's the one that has to give his consent to the hero and heroine marrying, which he always refuses to do until the plot creaks round to a situation where not doing so will mean that he dies. He sometimes dies anyway (The Sorcerer and Yeomen of the Guard), if he doesn't, he'll invariably end up with:

* The dame (contralto): her job is to try to seduce the hero, which is a source of much humour in the operettas because she's obviously way too old for him (the Victorians weren't big on mixed-age affairs outside royalty). If this were pantomime she'd be played by Danny La Rue.

* The king/emperor/bloke in charge (bass): he usually turns up mid way through the script and stirs things up by threatening to kill a few of the leading characters. He's always a big softie at heart, though, and usually cops off with one of the minor female characters. Interstingly, given that this character is often quite old, there doesn't seem to be the same age taboo about who he ends up with, although far be it from me to suggest that the Victorians might have been just a tad hypocritical about this.

* The heroine's sidekick (mezzo-soprano): generally feistier and a good deal more intersting than the heroine, her real purpose is to provide one of the male characters with someone to pair off with for the curtain call. There's always someone who's been busy chasing the heroine all evening who, when she goes off with the hero, finds himself partnerless. He then sings one line in the finale about how he actually fancies the sidekick and it's snogs at curtain down. Men, eh?

* The character-with-one-line (various): always has just one spoken or sung line in the entire operetta, which could just as easily be performed by one of the other lords/gondoliers/lovesick maidens. The sole purpose of this character seems to be to give the performer a named part in the programme and make him feel that bit better about not getting one of the lead roles. This won't be much consolation to his friends and family who get dragged along to the local Operatic Society - 'See! See! I've got a speaking role, you've *got* to come now!' - and have to sit through two hours of off-key singing to witness his or her five seconds of fame. People have been disinherited for less.

Dramatis Personae

Post 2

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

And so do his sisters and his cousins and his aunts...

Dramatis Personae

Post 3

Jim Lynn

... His sisters and his cousins and his aunts.

Dramatis Personae

Post 4

Feisor - -0- Generix I made it back - sortof ...

Ta-ran Ta-rah Ta-ran Ta-rah

Dramatis Personae

Post 5


We sail the ocean blue....and our saucy ship's a beauty....we are sober men and true..........

Dramatis Personae

Post 6

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

...and attentive to our duty!!

Dramatis Personae

Post 7

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

his sisters and his cousins, whom he reckons up by dozens,

Dramatis Personae

Post 8

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran




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