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Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

Written by W S Gilbert

Composed by Alfred Cellier

Orchestrations completed after Cellier’s death by Ivan Caryll (2 numbers),

melodic lines by Cellier

A Comic Opera in Two Acts

First produced at the Lyric Theatre, London on 4th January 1892


    We are indebted to research by J Donald Smith
    for much performance data regarding the amateur performance history of
    The Mountbanks.
    His research in the archives of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company has brought to light details of many productions that might otherwise have remained undiscovered. Unfortunately many of those productions were by companies whose names remain unknown, only the location and dates of the performances are available to us.

    To tell us about a production, past, present or to come, or to advise us of a society website we have missed, please click HERE

    1892  —  Perth Amateur Operatic Society (Western Australia)

    1894  —  Winnipeg Operatic Society (Canada)

    1898  —  Bristol Amateur Operatic Society

    1898  —  Lancaster Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society

    1899  —  Leicester Amateur Operatic Society

    1900  —  Northampton Operatic Society

    1903  —  Leeds Amateur Operatic Society

    1907  —  Nottingham  —  Company not known

    1908  —  Glasgow  —  Company not known, concert

    1908  —  Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1909  —  Torquay Operatic Society

    1909  —  Beale Musical Society (Newtown, Australia)

    1909  —  Beale Musical Society (Manley, Australia)

    1909  —  Beale Musical Society (Woolagong, Australia)

    1910  —  Leicester Amateur Operatic Society

    1910  —  Muswell Hill  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Balham  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Bude  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Croydon  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Norwood  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Strathpeter Road, Dingwall??  —  Company not known

    1911  —  Yeovil Operatic Society

    1912  —  Warrington  —  Company not known

    1912  —  Wimbledon  —  Company not known

    1912  —  Huddlestone  —  Company not known

    1913  —  Glossop  —  Company not known

    1913  —  Winnipeg, Canada  —  Company not known

    1916  —  Hanley  —  Company not known

    1918  —  Australia  —  Location and company not known.  Single concert

    1918  —  Central Foundation Boys’ School, Cowper Street, Islington

    1918  —  Lincoln Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1919  —  Newcastle  —  Company not known

    1920  —  Ilford Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1920  —  Westcliff Operatic & Dramatic Society

    1922  —  Kingsbridge Amateur Operatic Society

    1923  —  Burton-on-Trent  —  Company not known

    1923  —  South London Operatic Society, Camberwell

    1923  —  Chelsea Polytechnic, Chelsea

    1923  —  Letchworth  —  Company not known

    1923  —  Northampton Institute

    1924  —  Central Foundation Boys’ School, Cowper Street, Islington

    1924  —  Surbiton  —  Company not known

    1925  —  Guildhall School of Music, London

    1925  —  Jersey  —  Company not known

    1925  —  Leytonstone  —  Company not known

    1925  —  Liverpool  —  Company not known

    1925  —  North Shields  —  Company not known

    1925  —  Orpheus Amateur Operatic Society, Ottawa (Canada)

    1926  —  Faversham Institute

    1926  —  Lower Holder Club, Cark-in-Cartmel, Lake District

    1926  —  Sydenham Secondary School, London

    1927  —  Amble  —  Company not known

    1927  —  Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham

    1927  —  Ushaw College, Durham

    1927  —  York Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

    1928  —  Parish Hall, Bude  —  Company not known

    1928  —  Public Hall, Croydon  —  Company not known

    1928  —  Grand Theatre, Falmouth  —  Company not known

    1928  —  Streatham Hall, London  —  Company not known

    1929  —  Brentwood Operatic Society

    1929  —  Norwood and Streatham Operatic Society

    1929  —  Northwick Park Hall, Kenton  —  Company not known

    1929  —  Co-op Hall, Wigston  —  Company not known

    1929  —  Town Hall, Leek  —  Company not known

    1929  —  Playhouse, Lough  —  Company not known

    1930  —  BBC Belfast  —  Radio Broadcast

    1930  —  Heaton  —  Company not known

    1930  —  St Lambert High School, Quebec (Canada)

    1931  —  Banstead and Nork Amateur Operatic Society

    1931  —  Oldham Church Schools Operatic & Dramatic Society

    1931  —  Sutton  —  Company not known

    1932  —  Leeds    —  Company not known

    1932  —  St Brides Foundation Institute, London

    1932  —  West Leigh Operatic & Dramatic Society

    1933  —  Coventry  —  Company not known

    1933  —  Finchely and Friern Barnet Operatic Society

    1933  —  Gloucester  —  Company not known

    1935  —  Belvedere (Liverpool?)  —  Company not known

    1935  —  Northern Polytechnic, Holloway, London

    1936  —  Central Square Institute, Hampstead Garden Suburb

    1936  —  Hindley (Wigan?)  —  Company not known

    1938  —  Castleford  —  Company not known

    1938  —  Leigh-on-Sea  —  Company not known

    1939  —  Geoids Amateur Operatic Society, London  —  Abandoned due to the

     outbreak of war

    1939  —  Harrow  —  Company not known

    1964  —  Lyric Theatre of Washington

    1968  —  Polytechnic Operatic Society, London

    1982  —  Ramsgate Operatic Society

    1992  —  University of London Opera Group

    2010  —  Buxton  —  Abridged, concert

    2012  —  Edinburgh Gilbert and Sullivan Society  —  Abridged, semi-staged


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    FREE downloads are available for these publications

    Newly typeset combined vocal score and libretto of
    The Mountebanks, courtesy of Troupers Light Opera.


      Act 1 Scene 1          Act 1 Scene 2


      Also available as a download for purchase from Lulu
    with dialogue inserted


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

    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 represent the views of St David’s Players as a Society.

    Performances of The Mountebanks are reasonably rare these days. Although the opera clocked up a very respectable initial run at the Lyric Theatre in 1892, and despite subsequent amateur productions, with the destruction of much of the performance material in the fire at Chappell’s warehouse in 1964, the ability to stage the opera was compromised.

    Initially this seemed to be not too serious as there were enough vocal scores and libretti in libraries and in private hands, and there was also a set of band parts with D’Oyly Carte - although no one seems quite sure why as the work was never a D’Oyly Carte piece.

    However, in 1964 the Lyric Theater of Washington hired the band parts to stage a production and when the parts were sent back one of the packages went missing, never to reappear, effectively rendering what remained as useless.

    Thankfully, the Lyric Theater went into the recording studio before the parts were returned.

    This two CD set has been reissued by the American company House of Opera and may be ordered via the internet. The set is currently priced at US$ 9.25 plus International First Class postage - the sterling price varies in accordance with the exchange rate, but this is an incredibly attractive price for such a rarity. There is no track listing provided with these CDs so we have provided one at the bottom of this review.

    It has to be said that the performance is characterised by some strong American accents and a rather laboured, stilted style of dialogue which many will find hard to listen to, however, the dialogue is tracked separately and may be programmed out or skipped as desired. Musically this is an acceptable performance and does go to show that there is an enjoyable work here which would be well worth the effort of revival.

    Musical highlights have to be the ‘Put a penny in the slot’ duet for Nita (a dancer) and Bartolo (a clown) who have been transformed into life-size automated figures of Ophelia and Hamlet. Their trio later in Act Two, ‘Ophelia was a dainty little maid’, sung with Pietro (the chief mountebank) is also a delightful number.

    Certainly with the resources of the internet (you will find both the original Chappell vocal score and a newly typeset combined score and libretto in the Resources area of this web site) and the recent creation of a new set of band parts, performances of this delightful work are, once more, a possibility.

      Listen to ‘Put a penny in the slot’

      Listen to ‘Ophelia was a dainty little maid’


    Lyric Theatre of Washington — THE MOUNTEBANKS


    Track ListingCD 101ACT ONE23456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233 CD 21ACT TWO2345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353600Track0Overture (from Cellier’s Suite Symphonique)-The Chaunt of the MonksDialogueCome all the maidensIf you pleaseDialogueOnly think, a Duke and DuchessDialogueHigh Jerry Ho!Teresa — Bedecked in fashion trimDialogueIt’s my opinionDialogueUpon my word, MissDialogueFair maid, take pityTabor and drumDialogueReprise — Now that’s the kind of merrimentDialogueDialogueThose days of oldAllow that the plan I deviseOh luck unequalledAh, cruel oneNow, listen to me, dearDuped! Rejected!Come and take your places allAllow me, madamAttamen ex cunctisOh you wickedNow all you pretty villagersAstonishing what science can contrive90 (line 4)TrackEntr’acte-DialogueI’d be a young girl if I couldDialogueAll alone to my eerieDialogueIf I can catch this jolly Jack-PatchIf our action’s stiff and crudeDialogueWhere gentlemen are eaten up with jealousyWhen your clothes (attrib: Ivan Caryll)Time there was when earthly joyAfter a weary searchAh! What does this mean?DialogueThe Duke and Duchess hither wend their wayDialogueWhere’s my Duck-a-deary?DialogueIn days gone byIn days gone by (verse 2)So, I have found youAn hour will soon have pastAn hour? Nay, nay.When hungry catOh, please you not to go awayMay it please your GracesThere’s only one thing to be doneIt’s bad enoughDialogueOphelia was a dainty little maidHope livedHa! False one!Hold! Stay thy handNow, what is thisThe Duke and the DuchessChappell VS Page Number0N/A 1-712-16-2126-31-34-4554-60--616267717376777982838990--102--103-107-109111-114-118122128-128-138-146146147148152153155158162168-171174175177178182