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

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THE SAVOY OPERAS

THESPIS or, THE GODS GROWN OLD

Read more about THESPIS

 

#ExeterGandS

ST DAVID’S PLAYERS

Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

Written by W S Gilbert

Composed by Arthur Sullivan

Premièred at The Gaiety Theatre, London 26th December 1871 running for 63 performances. No musical score of Thespis was ever published, and most of the music has
been lost.

 

Over the last 60 years or so there have been 20 or more attempts by various scholars to recreate the opera, either using music from other works by Sullivan, or by composing new scores in the style of Sullivan. ‘Climbing over rocky mountain’ was transferred from Thespis to The Pirates of Penzance wholesale, that ‘Little maid of Arcadee’ was published as a separate ballad in 1872, and that the ballet from act two was discovered in the 1990’s and has several times been recorded.

 

A brief synopsis

 

The story follows an acting troupe headed by Thespis,
the legendary Greek father of the drama, who temporarily
trade places with the gods on Mount Olympus, who have grown elderly and ignored. The actors turn out to be comically inept rulers.

 

Having seen the ensuing mayhem down below, the angry gods return, sending the actors back to Earth as ‘eminent tragedians, whom no one ever goes to see’. Gilbert would return to this theme twenty-five years later in his last opera with Sullivan,
The Grand Duke
, in which a theatre company temporarily replaces the ruler of a small country and decides to ‘revive the classic memories of Athens at its best’.