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The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan Hardcover – October 3, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1216 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; annotated edition edition (October 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019816503X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198165033
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gilbert and Sullivan, librettist and composer, were classically Victorian gentlemen whose comic operas for the Savoy Theater under impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte have endured down to the present day despite the disappearance of the British imperial world which they lampooned. Theirs was a happy combination of Sullivan's cheerily catchy tunes and Gilbert's witty lyrics which captured the comedy of universal human nature. Ian Bradley, annotator of an earlier Gilbert and Sullivan collection, completes and updates the record with the inclusion here of the last collaborations of the two, and new introductions to the operettas that reflect modern interpretations.

From Library Journal

Lovers of Gilbert and Sullivan will be in heaven with the publication of these two books, which nicely complement each other. Stedman (English, Roosevelt Univ., Chicago) offers an outstanding study of this playwright and his often overlooked works, with much of its value deriving from its study of Gilbert without Sullivan. The author is a recognized expert on Gilbert as well as the Victorian time period, and she shows him to be a complex and interesting man who often found himself at odds with his time. Stedman highlights his contribution to Victorian theater as a forerunner of Wilde and Shaw. She also exposes some of the myths about Gilbert (and his relationship with Sullivan) that have been perpetrated by earlier writers. The index and bibliography are excellent. The annotated collection serves a dual purpose: Readers can now sing along with any Gilbert and Sullivan song and know all the words, and they will understand everything the song was meant to convey. This volume combines two previously published paperbacks from Penguin and adds the libretti to The Grand Duke and Utopia Limited. All notes are on the left page, and the actual song texts (complete with stage directions) are on the facing right page. There are also new introductions to each opera, a new introduction to the volume, and corrections to the original text. Print and text layout are very good. Both titles are recommended for public and academic libraries, as well as libraries with theater holdings.?Susan L. Peters, Emory Univ., Atlanta, Ga.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Lots of good information.
Charles L. Duval
The book gives a little history of G&S, a little history of each play and the words for all the songs(right page) with comments on the facing page.
P. Bechtel
There are profiles and biographies of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan as well as Richard D'Oyly Carte.
Rudy Avila

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on June 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although I hate that expression (see above), I must admit it applies totally to this marvelous edition. Granted that if you listen to Gilbert & Sullivan, you will want to follow the words--which are not always provided with many recordings nowadays. Then given the words, you will also want to know the meanings of most of Gilbert's more esoteric words ("Daphnephoric"), or simple words that have lost or changed their meanings since Gilbert's day ("Be firm, my pecker"!), or references to people (Captain Shaw), places (Basingstoke), or even objects (Parliamentary trains). Then too, the complete G&S nut will want to see the original versions of some of the songs and certainly the texts to songs that were cut just after opening night or even during rehearsals. In fact, I still have a lot of fun just looking at the left-hand pages to brush up on my G&S trivia. So while this book sells at twice the price of other collections of the "Savoy" plays, it gives twice as much and should be as welcome as the flowers that bloom in the Spring.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Author Bill Peschel on August 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Occupying that middle area between musicals and grand opera, the works of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are showing their age to the point where this invaluable guide can become an invaluable, addictive pleasure.
While their stories and music are lighthearted and accessible, the Victorian events and personalities that infuse the lyrics do need some explanation, and Ian Bradley s guide is the place to look.
The book itself offers additional pleasure, since Oxford University Press decided to print the complete libretto of all 13 operas on the right-hand page, leaving the left-hand pages free for Bradley's footnotes. This saves an enormous amount of page-flipping.
Bradley' footnotes cover a wide range of knowledge. They clear up obscure references, offer alternative line readings, give advice from actors, comment on stage business, describe who the major characters were modeled on and even add songs that were dropped from the production.
Bradley also uses this opportunity to discuss Gilbert and Sullivan s solo works, and how they were sometimes cannibalized for use in their collaborations.
Each work is prefaced with a short introduction describing the conditions under which they were created. While Gilbert and Sullivan were known to be at loggerheads through most of their collaboration, it is amazing to realize that the popularity of their operas did not reflect their distate for the work. This is particularly true in Sullivan s case; he always thought of himself as a musician first, and resented having to bend his music to fit Gilbert s words.
"The Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan" is a must for any fan of the Savoy Operas, and recommended for those just starting to discover the delights of comic opera's pirates, policemen and peers.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Gordon on February 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book nicely provides the (almost) complete librettos with detailed notes on, among other things, the various versions from preproduction onward to twentieth century changes, the origins, the inspirations, and the meaning of words Bradley thinks are obscure. He is much more likely to explain reasonably familiar words than to assume too much. The introductions nicely trace the history down to the most recent productions. Those who have seen the current movie Topsy-Turvy will find the notes helpful in seeing some of the actual events depicted in the movie. The one omission is Thespis, the first collaboration. The libretto, but not the score, survived. Two areas of omission are exhaustive treatment of either the major performers or recordings. However, this is an excellent source for lovers of G&S.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Yi-Peng on June 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This omnibus edition of the complete Gilbert and Sullivan librettos is a handbook for the G&S enthusiast who wants to know everything about the operas and their librettos. Each opera contains the complete libretto, as well as an interesting and entertaining introduction, which reflects the nature of the annotations in the libretto. The annotations are also humorous, which adds to the reading pleasure. As for the librettos, they are well-produced, with only slight inaccuracies, yet are still readable. The book is well-organised, with the lyrics on one page and the annotations on another. Overall, to all G&S fans, this is excellent value for money. I would encourage all G&S enthusiasts to buy this book whenever they can.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the only book for a true Gilbert and Sullivan fan, especially since it literally is the only complete collection of their works available today for purchase. Luckily, it's a good one: it includes all of their Savoy operettas as well as their lesser-known later works such as Utopia Ltd. The real jewels of the collection, however, remain their best operas: HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, The Sorcerer. This book is especially helpful because it contains all of the lyrics to all of the songs, and most CD recordings of the operas do not come with the lyrics (for many of the songs, it is impossible to catch all of the words simply by hearing them). Ian Bradley's notes, printed off to the side, are also interesting and help shed light on obscure words and phrases. Enjoy!
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