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Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

Written by W S Gilbert

Composed by Arthur Sullivan





    ACT 1

    In lazy languor motionless
    Phylla & Chorus of Girls

     O make way for the Wise Men

    In every mental lore
    Scaphio & Phantis

    Let all your doubts take wing
    Scaphio & Phantis

    Quaff the nectar

    A King of autocratic power we
    King with Chorus

    Although of native maids the cream
    Nekaya & Kalyba

    Bold-faced ranger
    Lady Sophy with Chorus

    First you’re born
    King with Scaphio & Phantis

    Subjected to your heavenly gaze
    King & Lady Sophy

    Oh, maiden rich in Girton lore
    Zara, Fitz., Troopers & Chorus

    Ah! gallant soldier
    Zara, Fitz., Troopers & Chorus

    It’s understood, I think
    Zara, Fitz., Scaphio & Phantis

    Oh, admirable art
    Zara & Fitz

    Cut song for Zara
    Youth is a boon avowed, sung on the first night but now lost

    Act I Finale:
    Although your Royal summons to appear

    When Britain sounds the trump of war
    Zara, Sir Bailey Barre & Chorus
    What these may be
    Zara, Dramaleigh, Blushington & Chorus
    A company promoter this
    Zara, Goldbury & Chorus
    I’m Captain Corcoran, K.C.B.
    Capt. Corcoran with Chorus
    Ye wand’rers from a mighty State
    Quartet, Chorus & Soli

    Some seven men form an association
    Mr. Goldbury with Chorus

    Well, at first sight it strikes us as dishonest

    Henceforward of a verity
    King Paramount & Ensemble

    ACT 2

    Oh, Zara!
    A tenor, all singers above


    Words of love too loudly spoken
    Zara & Fitz

    Society has quite forsaken
    King with Chorus of Six Flowers of Progress

    Entrance of Court

    Drawing Room Music

    This ceremonial
    Eagle high in cloudland soaring

    King & Ensemble

    With fury deep we burn
    Scaphio, Phantis, & King Paramount

    If you think that when banded in unity
    King, Scaphio & Phantis

    With wily brain
    Scaphio, Phantis, & Tarara

    A wonderful joy our eyes to bless
    Mr. Goldbury

    Then I may sing and play?
    Nekaya, Kalyba, Lord Dramaleigh & Mr Goldbury

    Oh, would some demon pow’r
    When but a maid of fifteen year

    Lady Sophy

    Ah, Lady Sophy, then you love me!
    King & Lady Sophy

    Oh, rapture unrestrained
    King & Lady Sophy


    Upon our sea-girt land

    Finale Act II: There’s a little group of isles beyond the wave
    Zara, King Paramount & Ensemble



    King Paramount the First
    King of Utopia (baritone)

    Phantis, Scaphio
    Judges of the Utopian Supreme Court (comic baritones)

    The Public Exploder (comic baritone)

    The Utopian Vice-Chamberlain (speaking)

    The Princess Zara
    eldest daughter of King Paramount (soprano)

    The Princess Nekaya

    The Princess Kalyba
    (mezzo-soprano), her younger sisters

    The Lady Sophy
    their English Gouvernante (contralto)



    (soprano), Utopian Maidens


    Lord Dramaleigh
    a British Lord Chamberlain (high baritone)

    Captain Fitzbattleaxe
    First Life Guards (tenor)

    Captain Sir Edward Corcoran KCB
    of the Royal Navy (bass)

    Mr Goldbury
    a Company Promoter, afterwards Comptroller of the Utopian Household (baritone)

    Sir Bailey Barre, Q.C., MP

    Mr. Blushington
    of the County Council (baritone)



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    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.

    With Utopia, (Limited) Gilbert and Sullivan returned to the Savoy Theatre (in partnership) after a gap of almost four years. Following the première of their previous work (The Gondoliers, December 1889) they had become involved in a bitter law suit in which Gilbert had opposed D’Oyly Carte over the expenses incurred in the provision of a new carpet for the foyer of the Savoy Theatre. Sullivan had sided with Carte - something Gilbert would never
    fully forgive.

    Utopia is quite a different libretto to those Gilbert wrote the previous year (1892), ‘Haste to the Wedding’ with George Grossmith and The Mountebanks with Alfred Cellier. Utopia is openly satirical of everything British and even takes pop-shots at D’Oyly Carte in the character of Mr Goldbury, the company promoter, and at Sullivan in the character of Arthur Fitzbattleaxe, the tenor who cannot reach his top notes. These factors lead to a rather dark hued libretto with not much of a storyline. Sullivan, too, with his Grand Opera Ivanhoe (1891) and Light Opera Haddon Hall (1892) under his belt, was in a much darker musical mood and this manifests itself with a number of dark musical passages and recitatives.

    Utopia had to wait until 1963 for a recording of any substantial excerpts and when it did happen it was grudgingly under pressure from the fans of D’Oyly Carte who had been bombarding both the opera company and DECCA for a revival of the opera for some years. With advances in technology the new recording of Trial would not adequately fill two LP sides and DECCA decided to solve the problem by recording excerpts from Utopia as a filler. Five excerpts were recorded. For many years it was suspected that DECCA recorded more than they used, but recent evidence has revealed that the producers at DECCA recorded just these five numbers declaring the rest of the opera unworthy of recording. Just 12 years later, in the light of the stage production, they would change their minds.

    DECCA have never reissued this recording, but now, Sounds on CD have gathered together four excerpt discs of the 60’s and 70’s and issued them as a two CD set entitled ‘Of Pleasures There Are Many’. The set contains numbers from Trial right through to Utopia and also presents D’Oyly Carte singers who are heard on no other recordings. Utopia is represented by ‘O make way for the wise men’, ‘Oh maiden rich in Girton law’, ‘A tenor all singers above’, ‘Words of love’ and ‘Eagle High’. The singers and orchestra alike are obviously revelling in the opportunity to sing music that they seldom if ever get to perform and the set as a whole is a delight.

      Ann Hood and Thomas Round perform ‘Words of love’.

    The CDs can be obtained from Music Hall Masters in the UK and 78s2cd in the USA.

    The D’Oyly Carte recording of 1975 was the direct result of the first professional revival by the company as part of their centenary season at the Savoy on April 4th in that same year. As a result of that stage production this recording has more of a theatrical feel to it than (for example) the 1968 Sorcerer, recorded at a time when that opera was not in the current repertoire. Following the single performance at the Savoy, Utopia received a further four performances at the Royal Festival Hall in the summer of the same year. The recording opens up several cuts that were made in stage performance.

    Recorded without dialogue (except for a few snatches in Act Two) the recording is brighter than one might have expected and many of the numbers rattle off at a cracking pace. John Reed and John Ayldon are excellent as the two wise men Scaphio and Phantis, with Reed conveying the acid spitefulness of his stage characterisation. Kenneth Sandford turns in a wonderfully genial performance as King Paramount. Pamela Field and Meston Reid make a delightful pair of lovers.

    The score contains a number of musical gems, not least the duet for Nekaya and Kalyba, the twin princesses, although the voices of both Julia Goss and Judi Merri are perhaps a little weighty for 18 year old girls. The cabinet council scene is a winner as always.

    Orchestra and chorus are well directed by Royston Nash and this latest CD reissue by DECCA seems to have taken the harsh edge of the recorded sound that was present on the original LP issue. The fillers of the Imperial March, Overture to Macbeth, the Suite No: 1 from Victoria and Merrie England and the Marmion overture make an excellent addition to an altogether excellent reissue at mid-price.

      The Cabinet Council scene.

    DECCA 473 662-2.

    The Ohio Light Opera recording was made during live performances in 2000. This recording makes an extremely strong case for revival of the opera. Ohio Light Opera is, of course, a professional company and there is an excellent standard. Many of their operetta recordings are very fine and Utopia is no exception. Unlike Princess Ida this recording is not marred by jarring American accents.

    This, too, can truly be considered a ‘complete’ recording for not only is the complete dialogue present, but even ‘Ah Gallant Soldier’ contains both verses which the D’Oyly Carte recording does not. Every member of the cast makes a valuable contribution to a really sparkling presentation which can only be welcomed.

    ‘Ah Gallant Soldier’ from this recording.

    The recording is on the Newport Classic label NPD85659/2 and is available from Amazon.