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Libretto by L Cairns James after the play by Sheridan (E)

Scoring

3S,2A,3T,5Bar,2B,4speakers,mime; chorus 2.2.2.2.dbn-4.2.3.0-timp.perc:cyms/BD/SD/bells-harp-strings On-stage: 2tpt

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
14/01/1916
Shaftesbury Theatre, London
Company: Shaftesbury Theatre

Roles

LORD BURLEIGH Silent role
GOVERNOR OF TILBURY FORT Baritone
EARL OF LEICESTER Baritone
SIR WALTER RALEIGH Baritone
SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON Tenor
MASTER OF THE HORSE Bass
DON FEROLO WHISKERANDOS Tenor
BEEFEATER Baritone
JUSTICE Baritone
SON Tenor
CONSTABLE Bass
TILBURINA Soprano
CONFIDANT Soprano
JUSTICE'S LADY Contralto
FIRST NIECE Soprano
SECOND NIECE Contralto
PUFF, the Author (in the Dialogue) Spoken role
DANGLE, the Composer (in the Dialogue) Spoken role
SNEER, the Critic (in the Dialogue) Spoken role
MR HOPKINS, the Under-Prompter (in the Dialogue) Spoken role
Knights, Guards, Constables, Sentinels, Rivers, Attendants etc. Silent roles
Time and Place

The Theatre

Synopsis

The first act represents the stage of a theatre, where a new opera is to be rehearsed. The composer Mr Dangle and the critic Mr Sneer have their chairs set down by the Under Prompter, who tells them that the librettist, Mr Puff, will be slightly delayed. Soon he appears, however, and a discussion follows on his profession, on the theatre and on the merits of the new piece. The rehearsal gets under way. The opera is set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I at Tilbury Fort, where Sir Walter Raleigh and the Governor of the fort, Sir Christopher Hatton, discuss the threat of a Spanish invasion and the fact that Don Ferolo Whiskerandos, son of the enemy admiral, has been captured and imprisoned within. (Throughout the rehearsal, Puff, Sneer and Dangle comment on and interrupt the action with suggestions.) The governor's daughter Tilburina enters and we discover that she has become enamoured of Don Ferolo. The second act of Stanford's opera coincides with the second act of Dangle's. We learn that the performers themselves have cut out an entire scene containing a particularly fine speech describing Queen Elizabeth, but left in a subplot about an orphan rediscovering his whole family. A Beefeater sings a brief soliloquy on love before Hatton's and Raleigh's nieces decide to revenge themselves on the faithless Whiskerandos. They are prevented by the Beefeater, who throws off his disguise and is revealed as an English sea captain. He slays Whiskerandos and Tilburina goes mad. Various triumphal patriotic tableaux bring the opera to an end.

Moods

Comic

Subjects

History, Literary, Music/Arts




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