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THE EMERALD ISLE further reading




Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

Written by Basil Hood

Composed by Arthur Sullivan

Completed by Edward German





    ACT 1

    ACT 2

    Have ye heard the brave news?
    Chorus of Peasants

    My Friends... I'm descended from Brian Boru
    Terence and Chorus

    Of Viceroys though we've had
    Murphy and Chorus

    If you wish to appear as an Irish type
    Bunn and Chorus

    On the Heights of Glantaun
    Molly, Terence, and Murphy

    Two is Company
    Rosie, Susan, Terence & Bunn

    I am the Lord Lieutenant
    Lord Lieutenant, Countess, and Dr. Fiddle

    At an early stage of life
    Lord Lieutenant with Rosie, Countess, and Dr. Fiddle

    When Alfred’s friends their king forsook

    Oh, setting sun you bid the world good-bye

    Their courage high you may defy
    Rosie, Susan, Molly, Terence and Bunn

    That we're soldiers no doubt you will guess
    Chorus of Soldiers and Girls

    Now this is the song of the Devonshire Men
    Sergeant and Chorus

    It is past my comprehension.. Many years ago I strode
    Bunn and Molly with Chorus

    Their fathers fought at Ramillies

    Is there anyone approachin
    Chorus of Peasant Men with Dan

    Bedad, it’s for him that will always employ
    Chorus of Men


    Och, the spalpeen! Let him drown!

    Oh have you met a man in debt
    Terence and Chorus

    Twas in Hyde Park, beside the row
    Rosie, Terence, and Chorus

    I cannot play at love
    Molly, Kathleen, Bunn, Rosie, and Chorus

    Oh the age, in which we're living
    Bunn, with Susan

    Sing a rhyme
    Kathleen, Terence, Bunn, Susan, and Chorus

    Listen, hearken my lover
    Rosie, Terence and Murphy

    Good-bye my native town

    I love you! I love you!
    Molly and Murphy

    There was once a little soldier
    Terence with Chorus

    With a big shillelagh


    The Earl of Newtown, K.P.
    Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (bass-baritone)

    Dr. Fiddle, D.D.
    his Private Chaplain (tenor)

    Terence O'Brian
    a Young Rebel (tenor)

    Professor Bunn
    Shakespearean Reciter, Character Impersonator, etc. (comic baritone)

    Irish Peasants:

    • Black Dan
    • Mickie O'Hara

    H.M. 11th Regiment of Foot:

    • Sergeant Pincher
    • Private Perry
    • Sentry

    The Countess of Newtown

    Lady Rosie Pippin
    her Daughter (soprano)

    Molly O'Grady
    a Peasant Girl (mezzo-soprano)

    Lady Rosie’s Maid (mezzo-soprano)

    Peasant Girls:

    • Nora
    • Kathleen

    Chorus of Irish Peasants and Soldiers of 11th Regiment of Foot



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      Annotated libretto of The Emerald Isle


    Chappell edition of the vocal score of The Emerald Isle:-


      Part One


      Part Two


      Part Three


      Part Four


      Part Five



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    1904  —  Bristol Amateur Operatic Society

    1904  —  Nottingham Operatic Society

    1907  —  Southern Light Opera Company

    1908  —  York Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1909  —  Worcester Operatic & Dramatic Society

    1910  —  Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society

    1911  —  Lytham Amateur Operatic Society

    1911  —  Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1912  —  Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society

    1913  —  Bristol Amateur Operatic Society

    1922  —  Studley Operatic Society

    1924  —  Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1924  —  Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society

    1926  —  Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1926  —  Felling Stage Society

    1928  —  Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society

    1928  —  Redruth Amateur Operatic Society

    1930  —  Wisbech Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1930  —  Worcester Operatic & Dramatic Society

    1938  —  Geoids Amateur Operatic Society

    1948  —  Dumfries Musical and Operatic Society

    1950  —  Kingston Vale Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1950  —  Ponteland Repertory Society

    1951  —  Geoids Amateur Operatic Society

    1951  —  Loughton Operatic Society

    1952  —  Beverley Musical Theatre

    1965  —  Beaconsfield Operatic Society

    1970  —  Cotswold Savoyards

    1995  —  Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria, Australia

    1998  —  Edinburgh G & S

    1999  —  St David’s Players, Exeter

    2001  —  Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria, Australia

    2008  —  Valley Light Opera  —  Concert version with Orchestra


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    Please Note: 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 necessarily represent the views of St David’s Players

    At the time of his death in November 1900, the score of The Emerald Isle lay incomplete on Sullivan’s desk. This left an ailing Richard D’Oyly Carte with a problem, for here was a potentially successful opera for the Savoy, but only two-thirds had been written. In the event the impresario commissioned Edward German, a composer much admired by Sullivan and a one time member of the Savoy orchestra, to complete the score.

    Just how much Sullivan actually left is not known. That he completed the first two numbers of the opera in full score can be evidenced from the composers diaries, but what he left in terms of orchestral sketches or melodic or harmonic lines for other numbers is not documented. The Chappell vocal score and libretto annotate each number in the score to one or other composer; but rehearsal and performance are an enlightening experience, and during the rehearsals for the 1999 St David’s Players production (especially when joined by the orchestra), it became very apparent that there were musical turns of phrase in some of the numbers attributed to Edward German that could only have been written by Sullivan, and vice versa.

    The Emerald Isle recording from Prince Consort is quite a different matter when compared with their Rose of Persia. This is the only commercial recording ever released (originally on LP) and this time the performance is far better paced. Professor Bunn is played by the same bass as Hassan (Richard Broujo), but the voice seems somehow less obtrusive.

    With Emerald Isle of course, as mentioned above, one has the fun of spotting the numbers written by Sullivan and those by German. This would seem a simple matter as, also mentioned above, the vocal score allocates each number in the score to one or other composer and this is reproduced in the booklet.

    This recording of Emerald Isle is a delightful introduction to the work and, in the absence of any full-scale professional recording of either of these works, the set is a must for Sullivan lovers and lovers of Comic Opera in general.

    It is available on the PEARL label - GEMS 0189.

    In 1999, St David’s Players were commissioned by the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society to present a performance of The Emerald Isle at their festival, to be held that year at the Toorak Hotel in Torquay. The festival was scheduled for mid-May and therefore, to make the rehearsal of such a rare piece worthwhile, the decision was taken to present the work at the Barnfield Theatre, Exeter over the May Day weekend. These three performances commenced unusually on the Saturday and ran until Bank Holiday Monday. The performances took the form of a semi-staged, costumed concert performance with linking narration replacing most of the dialogue.

    Fortunately, the performance at Torquay was recorded by a member of the audience using a hand-held cassette recorded and was later issued by St David’s on CD. The recording is musically complete (apart from one very short passage when the cassette had to be changed), and the second disc is completed with highlights from the previous night’s concert, ‘Sullivan and Who?’, given by Occasional Harmony. Any members wishing to obtain a copy should email St David’s Players.

      The end of the Act 1 Finale ‘Come away sighs the fairy voice’ sung by Penny Daw and the full company.