A Conversation for Gilbert and Sullivan - Opera-writing Duo

Gilbert not Sullivan

Post 1


As Deadman noted in the neighbouring Gilbert and Sullivan forum, Gilbert was the rebel and Sullivan the sycophant who got the knighthood.

When Peter Paul & Mary recorded the song of the Merry Man and the Maid from the Yeoman of the Guard (all right, I'm old) a friend asked me if all G&S songs were that good, and I had to say they weren't. Much later I discovered that Sullivan didn't even write that one. Gilbert wrote the lyric to a traditional sea shanty; Sullivan knew when he was beaten and left it as it was.

Apart from his wonderful limerick (which I put in a forum to the Limerick entry) I don't know much about Gilbert's other work. But I heard an operetta Sullivan wrote with a different lyricist on the radio, 'Box and Cox', which was dreadful

Gilbert not Sullivan

Post 2

Charlie the Zebra

Could it be that Sullivan was knighted because his contribution to the world of music included the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers", while Gilbert did a dissertation on how a man born 29 February 1864 won't have his 21st birthday until 1948 -- and it was really 1952 because he forgot there would be no 29 February 1900?

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