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AGES AGO

 

 

ST DAVID’S PLAYERS RESOURCE CENTRE

 

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ST DAVID’S PLAYERS

Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

A musical legend written by W S Gilbert

Composed by Frederic Clay

  • REPORTED PRODUCTIONS

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    1974  —  Comic Opera Guild

    1979  —  Newcastle University Gilbert and Sullivan Society

    1980  —  Comic Opera Guild

    1986  —  Newcastle University Gilbert and Sullivan Society

    2010  —  Chapel End Savoy Players (at Buxton)

    2011  —  Chapel End Savoy Players (at Loughton)

    2013  —  Off-Monroe Players, Rochester, NY

    2014  —  Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, Harrogate Professional

  • RESOURCES

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      Libretto of Ages Ago courtesy of the
    Gilbert and Sullivan Archive

     

      Downloadable podcast of the Centenary Company
    2011 production

  • RECORDING REVIEWS

    Audio or video media is available
    for this item (subject to compatibility with your chosen media player software installed)

    Please be aware that St David’s Players are not responsible for the content or availability of content on external websites

    Reviews currently included here have been posted by contributor, Ian Bond, and are his personal views, and these may not represent the views of St David’s Players as a Society.

    Ages Ago is a significant work in the history of Gilbert and Sullivan. This is one of a number of Comic Operas written by W. S. Gilbert in partnership with composer Frederic Clay. Clay was a great friend and colleague of Sullivan and, indeed, the vocal score of Ages Ago bears a dedication to Sullivan. The piece is also significant as it was at a rehearsal of this that Clay introduced Gilbert to Sullivan for the first time.

    In the event, Ages Ago clocked up a very respectable initial run in excess of 350 performances (sharing the bill for part of that time with Sullivan’s Cox And Box), was revived on a number of occasions and toured the provinces.

    There appears to have been just one recording of Ages Ago, the current CD being a reissue of that recording. Although the cast, musical director and instrumentalists are listed, there is no indication of a recording company and no catalogue number. The recording appears to date to the 60’s or 70’s as the recording is clear and the sound good.

    That this is an American recording is very obvious by the accents of the performers and taking this into consideration some may find it quite hard to listen to, especially in the dialogue scenes where the accents are particularly exposed.

    However, perseverance does reveal a very pleasant and comic work, the second part of which is the very obvious forerunner of Ruddigore, with a picture gallery of four and a half portraits which come to life. The half is the character of Brown, who has been painted down to the waist and can therefore only comment on the action from the confines of his frame halfway up the wall.

    The work, described as being in One Act in the vocal score, but Two Acts on the CD, is in actual fact in Two Scenes joined together by an Entr’acte. At a running time of 75 minutes, Ages Ago could be a good alternative curtain raiser or partner to the shorter Gilbert and Sullivan works, most especially Sorcerer and Pinafore where there is an increasing tendency to playing those pieces without an interval. At the same time this would give overworked pieces such as Cox and Box, Trial by Jury and The Zoo a rest. On the downside, Ages Ago requires just three men and two women (although this could be doubled if the ghosts were cast separately). Accompaniment is for piano, harmonium and harp.

    An interesting piece to listen to and one which should be better known. Anyone wanting to obtain a copy should contact St David’s Players.