2007 The Gondoliers, Demokracy & Trial by Jury

The Gondoliers, Demokracy & Trial by Jury
Performance dates: 
2nd-3rd November 2007
Performance times: 
Cordes Hall, Sunninghill

History of the Shows


Trial by Jury was first performed in 1875. Its success launched the series of twelve Gilbert and Sullivan operas now known as the Savoy Operas. Trial is the only G&S opera played in one act and also the only one with no spoken dialogue. Initially it was played last on a triple bill, a custom which we are mirroring tonight with our first half of The Gondoliers and Demockracy. Gilbert had a brief legal career and the legal system was a favourite target for his satirical lyrics. Sullivan composed the music for Trial in just a few weeks once approached by Richard O'Oyly Carte. Trial is a witty. tuneful and very "English" opera.

A jury and the public assemble in the Court of the Exchequer to hear a case of breach of promise of marriage. The Usher gives a biased introduction; the jury's sympathies are with the plaintiff Angelina and they are hostile to t he defendant Edwin who fails to persuade them that his position is reasonable. The judge arrives with great pomp and once he tells of his rise to this position, the jury is sworn in. The Plaintiff arrives with her bridesmaids and endears herself to judge and jury, assisted by. her Counsel. Edwin suggests marrying both women which poses a dilemma. Angelina pushes for substantial damages, but Edwin counters by suggesting that he would be a poor husband, the worse for drink.

The judge suggests making him tipsy to check, but as everyone objects (except Edwin), loses patience and proposes to marry Angelina himself, an outcome greeted with joy unbounded.

The Gondoliers, first performed in 1889, was Gilbert and Sullivan's last great success. The unusually long opening number which we perform tonight was Gilbert's suggestion (after acrimonious discussions) to give Sullivan me opportunity to establish the mood of the opera through music. Sullivan combined his usual English idiom with the stately French gavotte, the Spanish cachucha, the tarantella from Italy and the barcarolle from Venice. We hear these in the overture which Jo Miller-Shepherd performs tonight. The opera opens in Venice wi th a large number of young maidens declaring their love for the gondoliers Marco and Giuseppe. They are so gallant and peerless in their manly beauty that the maidens are waiting for them to select brides before other suitors can be considered. The brothers are given flowers and offer to pick their brides blindfolded. Guiseppe picks Tessa, Marco picks Gianetta and all head to church for a double wedding.

Cast list: 

The Gondoliers


Marco - Alan Everett
Guiseppe - Stephen Johnson
Antonio - Bill Chislett
Francesco - Hugh Rowe
Georgio - Andy Rickford
Fiametta -

Louise Herrington

Guilia - Jan Chislett
Vittoria - Val Ryalls
Tessa - Hazel Cawthorne
Gianetta -

Sally Smith



Grabby Snatcher - Jan Chislett

Space Girls: Dosh, Scary,

Sporty, Ginger, Baby


Kelly McCamy, Gill Love, 

Jeni Swatridge, Helen Maffre,

Val Ryalls

Knell Dimwit - Tony Love
Toady Burp - Alan Everett
Churly Burp - Erica Darren
Ron Despot - Chris Schwaner
Cheater Meddlesom - John Woodward-Roberts
Rabid Peckham - Alex Goodwin
Ali Scumball - Barrington Woodward-Roberts
Grindem Down - Rick Comber
Swingometer - Kasia Kaszmarek
Narrator - Julia Lawson


Trial By Jury

Learned Judge - John Woodward-Roberts
Plaintiff - Sally Smith
Defendant - Alan Everett
Counsellor - Richard Batcheler
Usher - Peter Harris
Forman of the Jury - Bill Chislett
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