Rumpelstiltskin and Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial By Jury from Lyric Opera San Diego
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The last date listed for Rumpelstiltskin and Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial By Jury was Sunday February 22, 2009 / 2:30pm.
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Quotes & Highlights
“Trial by Jury” is a comic opera in one act, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretti by W.S. Gilbert. One of their very first works, it was first produced on 25 March 1875, at London’s Royalty Theatre, where it was a hit, running for 131 performances. The opera premiered more than three years after Gilbert and Sullivan’s only previous collaboration, “Thespis,”an 1871-72 Christmas season entertainment. In the intervening years, both the author and composer were busy with separate projects.
After its original production in 1875, “Trial by Jury” toured widely in Britain and elsewhere and was frequently revived and recorded. It also became popular as a part of charity benefits. The work continues to be frequently played, especially as a companion piece to other short Gilbert and Sullivan operas or other works. According to theatre scholar Kurt Gaenzl, it is “probably the most successful British one-act operetta of all time.” The success of “Trial by Jury” launched the famous series of 13 collaborative works between Gilbert and Sullivan that came to be known as the Savoy Operas.
Although a completely new one-act opera, “Rumpelstiltskin” looks back to the long tradition of English music halls, operatic conventions and operatic history. Written by Lyric Opera Artistic Director J. Sherwood Montgomery and composed by Dr. Nicolas Reveles, the San Diego Opera Director of Education, it uses the many elements of music theater tradition to introduce opera to a new generation of audiences, with a nod to theater traditions of the past as well as a healthy mix of new musical traditions serving the best of the American song book and the world music scene at the same time.
The Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale on which the piece is based is a very clear example of the uses of enchantment to tell children about life. The original story is filled with brutal and unpleasant images which include magic, danger, and cannibalism, all used in a tale that was meant to warn children about the world they were going to be facing and the importance of curbing their anger. Rumpelstiltskin literally stamps himself to death because of his frustration at being bested by the truth, and the “happily ever after” comes about through the power of love – the Princess for her child, and the father for his daughter.