“Hail, hail! gallant gondolieri, ben venuti!
Accept our love, our homage, and our duty.
Ben’ venuti! ben’ venuti!”
The Gondoliers or The King of Barataria
February 25 to March 20, 2005
|Stage Director:||Grif Sadow|
|Music Director:||Jeff Stirling|
|Artistic Director:||Wendy Evans|
Gilbert wrote to Sullivan the morning after opening night of The Gondoliers: “I must thank you for the magnificent work you have put into the piece. It gives one the chance of shining right through the twentieth century with a reflected light.”
In some ways The Gondoliers stands as the “supreme achievement” of Gilbert and Sullivan’s distinct yet united talents. A case, for once, of a librettist and composer “who act in perfect unity.”
In the United States, however, reception to the 1890 D’Oyly Carte production of The Gondoliers was markedly cooler. Lack of box office success earned the opera the nickname “The Gone Dollars,” and D’Oyly Carte himself came out to revamp the production.
During the first half of the 20th century, Venice, California was considered to be the “Coney Island of the Pacific.” This town was built to resemble Venice, Italy with its network of canals and a business district built in the Venetian architectural style (complete with two huge amusement piers!). Venice, California soon became the finest amusement resort on America’s West Coast and it is here we begin our production, finding our way to the Barataria Hotel and Casino located in Las Vegas, Nevada in Act II.
Our production started with the “supreme achievement” of Gilbert and Sullivan. It continues, “shining right through the twenty-first century” with new “reflected light” produced by a group of talented, dedicated, and caring theatre artists. These are individuals, both on stage and behind the scenes, who strive to “act in perfect unity.” I know Gilbert and Sullivan would be as proud of their accomplishments as I am.
Two excellent internet resources for information about The Gondoliers:
“Once more gondolieri,
both skillful and wary,
Free from this quandary,
contented are we.
From Royalty flying,
our gondolas plying,
And merrily crying
our ‘preme,’ ‘stali!’”