The Gondoliers

The Mikado

The Sorcerer

The Martyr of Antioch

Ruddigore

The Yeomen of the Guard

Other works performed by St Davids Players

St Davids Players
past productions

HMS Pinafore

The Pirates of Penzance

Trial by Jury

Iolanthe

Princess Ida

Utopia (Limited)

The Grand Duke

Patience

Thespis

Website © St David’s Players 2017

Designed by halo-creative.co.uk

Website terms and conditions of use and privacy policy

THE SAVOY OPERAS

THE SORCERER further reading

Return to THE SORCERER main page

 

#ExeterGandS

ST DAVID’S PLAYERS

Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

Written by W S Gilbert

Composed by Arthur Sullivan

  • SYNOPSIS

     

    Act One: midday, the villagers of Ploverleigh are outside the mansion of Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, rejoicing in the betrothal of his heir Alexis to Aline, the only child of the Lady Sangazure. However, Constance, the daughter of Mrs Partlet, is downcast. She loves Dr Daly, the elderly vicar of Ploverleigh, who is resigned to bachelordom (but fondly recalls the days when he was adored by his female flock).

    The Notary arrives for the signing of the marriage contract, then the lovers are left together. Alexis reveals to Aline his scheme to make the whole village share such happiness as theirs. He has appointed John Wellington Wells, a sorcerer, to administer a love philtre to the entire village. On awakening, the villagers will fall madly in love with the first person they see.

    Mr Wells introduces himself and places the love philtre in a large teapot with an incantation. The guests arrive for the banquet and quickly fall under the spell.

    We return to find Aline, Alexis and Mr Wells inspecting the sleeping villagers in the moonlight. As the villagers wake, the spell has worked its magic, and indeed, each falls in love with the first person they see with some farcical pairings as a result.

    Alexis is so pleased with his success that he urges Aline to join him in drinking the philtre, she refuses and they quarrel. Dr Daly is perplexed, suddenly everyone wants to be married, even Sir Marmaduke to Mrs Partlet. Mr Wells falls victim to his own spell when Lady Sangazure falls in love with him and he tries, unsuccessfully, to dissuade her.

    Aline, deciding to comply with her lover’s wishes, drinks the philtre. As she sleeps,        Dr Daly expresses frustration that all the ladies in the village are otherwise engaged! Aline awakes and falls in love with Dr Daly, who reciprocates enthusiastically. Alexis enters but Aline is repulsed by his embrace. They appeal to Mr Wells, who reveals that there is only one way to break the spell: either he or Alexis must die.

  • MUSICAL SYNOPSIS

    ACT 1

    Ring forth ye bells
    Chorus

    When he is here
    Constance

    Time was when love and I were well acquainted
    Dr Daly

    With heart and with voice
    Chorus of Girls

    Happy young heart
    Aline

    With heart and with voice
    Chorus of Men

    Welcome joy!
    Sir Marmaduke and Lady Sangazure

    All is prepared
    Aline, Alexis, Notary and Chorus

    For love alone
    Alexis

    My name is John Wellington Wells
    Mr Wells

    Incantation
    Aline, Alexis, Mr Wells and Chorus

    FINALE

     

    ACT 2

    'Tis twelve, I think and Why, where be Oi?...
    If you'll marry me
    Aline, Alexis, Mr. Wells, and Chorus

    Dear friends, take pity on my lot
    Constance, Notary, Aline, Alexis, and Chorus

    Thou hast the pow'r thy vaunted love
    Alexis

    I rejoice that it’s decided
    Aline, Mrs. Partlet, Alexis, Dr Daly, and Sir Marmaduke

    Oh, I have wrought much evil with my spells
    Lady Sangazure and Mr. Wells

    Alexis! Doubt me not, my loved one
    Aline

    Oh, my voice is sad and low
    Dr Daly

    Oh, joyous boon! oh, mad delight
    Aline, Alexis, Dr Daly, and Chorus

    Prepare for sad surprises
    Alexis

    Act II Finale:

    ‘Or he or I must die’
    leading to a reprise of ‘Now to the banquet we press’
    Ensemble

  • DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

    Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre
    an Elderly Baronet (bass-baritone)

    Alexis
    of the Grenadier Guards, his son (tenor)

    Dr Daly
    Vicar of Ploverleigh (lyric baritone)

    Notary
    (bass)

    John Wellington Wells
    of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers (comic baritone)

    Lady Sangazure
    a Lady of Ancient Lineage (contralto)

    Aline
    her Daughter, betrothed to Alexis (soprano)

    Mrs. Partlet
    a Pew Opener (contralto)

    Constance
    her Daughter (mezzo-soprano or soprano)

    Hercules
    (speaking role)

     

    Chorus of villagers

  • TRIVIA

  • RESOURCES

    Most computers can already read PDF files. If you are unable to view these files, download the FREE Acrobat Reader from Adobe

    FREE downloads are available for these publications

    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

      Annotated libretto of The Sorcerer including appendices containing the music of the original ending of the Act One Finale, the opening of Act Two, the original version of Alexis' Act Two ballad, and a setting of Lady Sangazure’s ballad ‘In days gone by’

     

      Hear the original ending of the Act One Finale

     

      Hear the original Act Two Opening Chorus

     

     

    Vocal score of the original 1877 version of The Sorcerer as published by Metzler:-

     

      Act 1          Act 2

     

    Modern edition vocal score with combined libretto of the revised 1884 version of The Sorcerer, courtesy of Troupers Light Opera:-

     

      Act 1          Act 2

     

    ‘Happy are we in our loving frivolity’

    The original 1877 opening chorus to Act Two. Below are a newly typeset Vocal Score for this number, together with a full orchestral score and band parts, all courtesy of Troupers Light Opera.

     

      Vocal Score

     

      Orchestral Score

     

    Band Parts

      Piccolo

      Flute

      Clarinet

      Oboe

      Bassoon

      Trumpet

      French Horn

      Trombone

      Percussion

      Violin 1

      Violin 2

      Viola

      Cello & Bass

     

  • 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.

    Over the years since complete recordings first began to appear,
    The Sorcerer has received just two major recordings, the first of these was in 1953 and the second in 1966 and both featured singers who had never performed the work on the professional stage, the sets and costumes for the opera having been destroyed in the blitz. As a result of the 1966 recording D’Oyly Carte revived the work in 1971 but never again recorded it. Both these recordings were made by DECCA. An abridged recording was issued by HMV in 1933
    and features many of the artistes then performing with D’Oyly Carte. Musical Director, Isidore Godfrey, conducts on all
    three recordings.

    The importance of the 1933 abridged recording cannot be underestimated for it is the only record we have of the performance style for this opera of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company preserved by a cast who actually presented the work on stage as part of their regular repertoire. The 1953 DECCA recording was the penultimate issue in what was to become affectionately known as the ‘DECCA first series’.

    Approximately half of the opera is recorded with Darrell Fancourt as Sir Marmaduke, Derek Oldham as Alexis, Leslie Rands as Dr Daly, Dorothy Gill as Lady Sangazure, Muriel Dickson as Aline, Anna Bethell as Mrs Partlett and Alice Moxon as Constance. Two guests, George Baker and Stuart Robertson perform as John Wellington-Wells and the Notary. The chorus and orchestra is that of D’Oyly Carte.

     

    This recording is currently available in three issues, Pearl GEMM CDS 9025 coupled with the 1926 recording of Mikado, Arabesque Z8068-2 coupled with the 1929 Pirates and Naxos 8.110785-86 coupled with the 1953 Sorcerer (complete) see below. The recordings are very clear and surface noise is at an absolute minimum, the Naxos transfer probably being the best of the three.

    None of the cast on this recording had performed the opera live, and yet the enthusiasm of the re-born post-war company shines through making this a delightful, fresh and immediate performance. Fisher Morgan is excellently pompous as Sir Marmaduke, Neville Griffiths superbly upper-class as Alexis, Jeffrey Skitch is suitably pious as Dr Daly and Donald Adams play the first of his many recorded and unforgettable roles as the Notary. The delightful and much lamented Ann Drummond-Grant (Mrs Isidore Godfrey) plays Lady Sangazure, Muriel Harding is a sweet, innocent Aline and Beryl Dixon and Yvonne Dean are both delightful as Mrs Partlet and her shy daughter, Constance.

    Most importantly this is the first of only four commercial recordings to feature Peter Pratt, here heard in the comic patter baritone role of John Wellington-Wells. Pratt’s all too brief career with D’Oyly Carte is often forgotten as it spanned the period between the legendary Martyn Green and the irreplaceable John Reed, but here he is heard on top form.

    The recording is also of interest as it preserves three minor cuts in the score that were undoubtedly preserved from the pre-war stage production. Firstly, the second verse of Constance’s first aria ‘When he is here’, a major portion of the Aline/Alexis duet ‘O Love’ in the Act One finale, and the repeat in Constance’s ‘O joy, o joy’ in Act Two. With the exception of the latter, these are opened up in the 1966 recording. However, a repeat in the Act Two country dance preserved in the 1953 recording is not preserved in 1966 although it was in stage performances from 1971 onwards.

    The performance is conducted by the indefatigable Isidore Godfrey, the only member of the company who would have had first hand experience of actual D’Oyly Carte performances of the work. The recording is currently available on the Avid label - AMSC 799 and also on Naxos 8.110785-86. Naxos couple this with the 1933 abridged recording (see above) and therefore this issue has to be highly recommended as it contains the two best recordings of the work, currently available, on one set of discs.

      ‘My name is John Wellington Wells’ performed by Peter Pratt, click on the image above.

    The recording is currently available on the Avid label - AMSC 799 and also on Naxos 8.110785-86. Naxos couple this with the 1933 abridged recording (see above) and therefore this issue has to be highly recommended as it contains the two best recordings of the work, currently available, on one set of discs.

    The 1966 recording should never have happened! A new recording of Mikado was scheduled, but the indisposition of Sir Malcolm Sargent dictated a re-think and Isidore Godfrey came to the rescue, thus completing the ‘DECCA second series’.

    That the 1966 Sorcerer is somewhat sterile is no surprise. It was 28 years since the last live D’Oyly Carte performance and once again Isidore Godfrey is the only link to those days. Another great sadness is that although Kenneth Sandford would make the role of Dr Daly so much his own when the opera was revived in 1971, here the part was entrusted to Alan Styler who, although competent enough, cannot hope to compare with Sanford’s interpretation. Donald Adams makes a superbly upper-crust Sir Marmaduke, Valerie Masterson a delightful Aline and John Reed begins to hint at the delights of his John Wellington-Wells. For the remainder we have here a very competent concert performance with no hint of the stupendous stage production that was to be revealed just five years later.

    DECCA have recently repackaged this recording and it is available as a two disc set coupled with The Zoo.
    The catalogue number is 473 659-2

    Back in 1982 a video production company controlled by George Walker announced a complete series of Gilbert and Sullivan presentations. In the event all the operas with the exception of Thespis, Utopia and Grand Duke were produced, with varying results. Introductions to each presentation, given by Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. were an annoying feature of these tapes as were the multiple cuts in Yeomen.

    One of the best of the series was undoubtedly The Sorcerer and this has now become available in the UK again, this time on DVD. Currently this is part of an eleven disc set containing all the operas, but hopefully they will become available singly at a later date.

    The medium of film allows the director the freedom to move in and out of Sir Marmaduke’s mansion, around the gardens, in and out of the refreshment tent and, at one point, out into a neighbouring field to visit a haystack!!

    This production is thankfully lacking in the ‘star’ names that spoil some of the other presentations in this series. The cast is headed by ex-D’Oyly Carter, Donald Adams as Sir Marmaduke, playing a role her never assumed on stage but obviously relishing every moment. Nuala Willis is suitably matched as Lady Sangazure. Nan Christie is a thoroughly delightful Aline and Alexander Oliver is suitably pompous and strong willed as Alexis. Enid Hartle and Janis Kelly give excellent performances as Mrs Partlet and her daughter, Constance and an ageing David Kernan gives a suitably bumbling performance as Dr Daly. Clive Revill, who made such a tremendous impression as Ko-Ko at Sadler’s Wells in 1962, gives a splendid performance as John Wellington-Wells. The Notary is uncredited but was possibly a member of the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. The London Symphony Orchestra is conducted splendidly by Alexander Faris.

    Douglas Faibanks Jnr. is still present, but then the advantage of DVD is that you can skip him!!

    The set has been reissued in new packaging and with complete production libretto included in each case, by Universal (catalogue number DVD 8228651-11), the rrp is £99.99 although it can be found much cheaper. Amazon often retail this set at much less. Each separate disc has its own catalogue number and this DVD is now available separately on 822 870-3 although it does seem to go in and out of stock.

    One of the best of the series was undoubtedly The Sorcerer and this has now become available in the UK again, this time on DVD. Currently this is part of an eleven disc set containing all the operas, but hopefully they will become available singly at a later date