The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company was founded in 1979, by Dick Fishel and Jim Hart. That year, the company produced its first operetta, Gilbert & Sullivan’s one act, Trial by Jury.
Since then, and for over forty years, the company has presented fully staged productions of all thirteen of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, ranging from perennial favorites, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, to the lesser-known Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke.
The company has also gone outside the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire and has performed Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach, The Zoo by B. C. Stephenson and Arthur Sullivan, as well as a concert version of The Rose of Persia by Basil Hood and Arthur Sullivan, and a semi-staged production of the comic Gilbert and Sullivan parody, The Da Vinci Coda.
In addition, the company regularly appears with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, in the summer, to present a concert version of one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. The company also had an extraordinarily successful appearance at the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival with a critically acclaimed staging of Trial by Jury. Beginning in 2018, the company has presented very successful cabaret performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works in Twin Cities night club venues.
Past and Future Productions
The following is a listing of The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s mainstage productions, from those scheduled in the near future, back to the company’s founding:
Dick Fishel’s letter announcing a meeting he was hosting, on Sunday, June 10, 1979,
with the intent of founding a “Gilbert & Sullivan Troupe.”
The Founding Letter
“A many years ago, when I was young and charming …”