Stanford, Charles Villiers
The Critic (1915)Duration: 150 minutes
Opera in two acts
Libretto by L Cairns James after the play by Sheridan (E)
3S,2A,3T,5Bar,2B,4speakers,mime; chorus 18.104.22.168.dbn-22.214.171.124-timp.perc:cyms/BD/SD/bells-harp-strings On-stage: 2tpt.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.
Shaftesbury Theatre, London
Company: Shaftesbury Theatre
|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|
|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 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.
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