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While Gilbert & Sullivan set the majority of their operettas in their home country of England, Arthur Sullivan visited Venice in 1888 and the trip clearly influenced the sunny music that he composed for The Gondoliers. Italian folk dances such as the tarantella and saltarello jostle with other vivacious national dances such as the cachucha (a fast gypsy dance from Spain) and operatic influences including Bellini, Bizet, Handel and Mozart. The whole opera glitters with the heady exuberance of Sullivan kicking up his musical heels. After a command performance in 1891, Queen Victoria noted in her diary that The Gondoliers was “simply charming.”

The plot line is a familiar one, involving a mix up of identities at birth. Along the way to resolving the confusion, Gilbert skewers issues of social equality and the class system with his usual brilliant wit. When The Gondoliers premiered in London in 1889, it was given the highest critical acclaim from the local media, including one reviewer who wrote, plainly, “It is not opera or play. It is simply entertainment – the most exquisite entertainment we have ever seen.”

About the Ticket Supplier: Lamplighters

Lamplighters Music Theatre is one of the oldest continuously performing theatres in the Bay Area, and the only year-round musical theatre company in San Francisco. Since the company's founding in 1952, they have produced the entire Gilbert and Sullivan canon as well as other light opera and musical theatre classics.