“Twenty love-sick maidens we,
Love-sick all against our will.
Twenty years hence we shall be
Twenty love-sick maidens still!
Twenty love-sick maidens we,
And we die for love of thee!”

—The Women’s Chorus
Patience
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company's Production of

Patience or Bunthorne's Bride

March 23 to April 8, 1990

Photo Gallery

Patience Program

Directors

Stage Director: Donna Carroll
Music Director: Carolyn Davies
Artistic Director:  Wendy Evans

Director’s Note

Patience is in some ways a paradox.  It is at once both inextricably bound to the period in which it was written, yet timeless with its themes of hero worship and irrational popular fads.

The operetta parodies the peculiar “Aesthetic” movement, which swept England (and to some extent the U.S.) in the late 1800s.  The movement had its source in a small but influential group of rebellious painters who rejected the prevailing artistic wisdom and adopted, instead, the old Italian masters as their ideals.  They formed a “secret” society, self-dubbed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and with their startlingly detailed techniques and antiquated subject matter, quickly turned the artistic world on its ear.  Theirs was a “blend of romantic idealism, scientific rationalism, and morality.”  This typically mid-Victorian mixture was itself a paradox.  “How else can one explain a group of artists whose idea of modernity was to paint the Middle Ages?”

The Pre-Raphaelites’ genuine and heartfelt objectives inspired creative minds in other genres as well, leading to the aesthetically earnest essays of John Ruskin, the ornate and flowery poetry of Algernon Swinburne and finally the flamboyant affectations of Oscar Wilde.  Along the way, sincerity gave way to pretentiousness and “aestheticism” for its own sake was born.  All of which, of course, provided ample fodder for Gilbert’s acerbic pen.

In my personal opinion, Patience is one of Gilbert’s wittiest librettos.  It is a perfect blend of outrageous satire and improbable yet somehow endearing characters.  Though obviously tied to its Victorian “aesthetic” roots, it nevertheless offers amusing insight in the cult phenomenon and hero worship very much evident in our own society.

Donna Carroll

Two excellent internet resources for information about Patience:

Wikipedia – Patience (Opera)

The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive – Patience