Gilbert & Sullivan Glossaries

One of the reasons that so many of us love the works of Gilbert and Sullivan is because of Gilbert’s amazing vocabulary and his use of sometimes incredibly obscure words to create delightful rhyme schemes.  After all, how many other librettists would have used “caravanserai” to rhyme with “chancery” or “ablutioner” to rhyme with “executioner?” … well, almost rhyme!  There are those of us who can thank W.S. Gilbert for high vocabulary scores on our Graduate Record Exams!

It is a long-standing tradition of The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company to include a Glossary in the program of each show.  Audiences have shared with us that a part of what they enjoy about attending our shows is the experience of reading and learning the meaning of words and phrases from our glossaries.  It may be true that jokes are not quite as funny when you must define the punch line, but the glossaries have certainly made the experience of attending our productions a lot of fun!

“That makes a difference, of course.
At the same time, we repeat, we cannot understand it at all.”

—The Policemen’s Chorus
The Pirates of Penzance