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Gilbert and SullivanA Dual Biography$
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Michael Ainger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195147698.001.0001

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1888 “A New Departure”—The Yeomen of the Guard

1888 “A New Departure”—The Yeomen of the Guard

(p.273) CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO 1888 “A New Departure”—The Yeomen of the Guard
Gilbert and Sullivan

Michael Ainger

Oxford University Press

If William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's opera is a unique genre, then The Yeomen of the Guard is unique within it. Both men thought that it was the best of their operas, and for Gilbert it was just about as serious as he would want to go. He had created the character of Jack Point, the jester, who “may wear a merry laugh upon his lip,” but whose “laughter has an echo that is grim.” Gilbert had created the lugubrious jailer, Wilfred Shadbolt, who with his “pretty wit” saw himself as a possible jester. Together, they make a comical couple, and in their duet, “Hereupon We're Both Agreed,” they never fail to captivate the audience. Sullivan was justly proud of his overture. Having given it his loving attention, he was sadly disappointed when the audience talked all through it.

Keywords:   William Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan, opera, Yeomen, Jack Point, jester, jailer, Wilfred Shadbolt

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