Thursday 26 May 2022
Author: Marcus Vanhofer
Speaker: Ilse Neubauer
Illustration: Tobias Kobald
Editor: Frank Halbach
‘Keep your cool’ that people who proclaim this principle to be the highest virtue are not entirely prone to spontaneous outbursts of emotion is evident. The British are said to be very stiff and dry. Perhaps with one exception: their entertainment music. Because there, UK residents sometimes display strange behavior referred to as ‘mania’.
“Obsession” is not only a “mental disorder” but also an “irrational desire” combined with “excessive enthusiasm,” explains Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Anyone who remembers the madness when the Beatles rocked the pop music and economics scene in the 1960s can well imagine what that meant.
Double Operetta Lottery
The phenomenon of mania, however, was present as early as in Victorian England, insofar as the Victorian era was ever emotive. At that time, the ecstasy of the audience was caught by two gentlemen who went down in music history as “double lutes” for the operetta. One, the son of a military musician and a former choir boy in the Royal Court Orchestra, had been introduced to classical music at the Leipzig Conservatory. The other, a failed lawyer, was fond of blunt and witty humor.
In fact, the two would go on together as well as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdi and Charles Dickens, the British historian A. The fact that an unexpected couple became as rich and famous as Gilbert and Sullivan shows how unpredictable they are in the music business.
In the perception of British theater-goers, Gilbert and Sullivan had one quality above all else: they were typically British.
This was not only because of William Schwenck Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s folkloric songs, which struck a chord in Victorian society, but also because of the themes they chose for their plays.
One example is her comedy opera HMS Pinafore, which premiered on May 25, 1878 at the Opera Comedy Theater in London, and with 571 consecutive performances, it was one of the greatest theatrical works of the late 19th century.
Of course, “HMS Pinafore” was also about love between girls and sailors, but Gilbert and Sullivan had something else in mind. In their naval action, they derisively targeted the “holy cow” of the “Empire”: the very proud Royal Navy. And the people in the hall knew what to laugh about because the references to “real” political grievances were clear to them.
For example, in the wit of the venerable Sir Joseph, First Lord of the Admiralty, who was appointed commander-in-chief of the most powerful fleet in the world without any sailing experience; So is WH Smith, the “real-life” model embodied.
Gilbert and Sullivan funded the production of HMS Pinafore themselves. This is another reason why the effect of the first show is especially important to them. The audience applauded wildly, and the London press reacted positively. We can assume: on May 26, the day after the premiere, the two Brits were sure:
Its “warship” completed a launch that was as remarkable as it was economically promising.