The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s was originally founded as a gathering of friends who sang the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, simply for the pleasure of doing so.
The company soon moved on to present fully staged productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas annually at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, beginning in 1980, and regularly to perform concert versions of one of operettas, with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, in the summer, beginning in 1995.
The company returned to its roots, however, with the Gilbert and Sullivan Sing-Throughs, in which Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiasts gather and sing together.
The Gilbert and Sullivan Sing-Throughs were held in the fall, since 2014, with the exception of the fall of 2017, when the company was engaged in presenting a fully stage production of Orpheus in the Underworld and from 2020 through 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sing-Throughs began again in the summer of 2023. These events are open to current and former members of the company as well as other interested singers.
The company sings through two pre-selected Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, with piano accompaniment, with the dialog omitted and without any prior rehearsal. For these events, the principal roles are cast in advance, based on registration, while the chorus parts are sung by everyone present.
The Gilbert and Sullivan Sing-Throughs were also inspired by similar events hosted by other Gilbert and Sullivan organizations around the country, including Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan’s annual Sing-In, the Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s Great Gilbert and Sullivan Sing Out, and the New England Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s Last Minute Light Operas.
“They do sing nicely.”