Opera Scotland

Gentleman's Island

Music

Joseph Horovitz (Born Vienna, 26 May 1926).

Text

Gordon Snell.

Source

Etiquette, a Bab Ballad by William S Gilbert (1836-1911).

 

Premieres

First Performance: London, 14 December 1958.

First Performance in Scotland: Ledlanet, Kinross-shire, 26 September 1968.

 

Background

Gentleman's Island was first performed as part of a Christmas entertainment by a group called the London Opera Club. It was then taken into the repertoire of the Intimate Opera Company, which toured it widely.

 

Characters

Mr Gray, a tea taster (tenor)

Mr Somers, an indigo importer (bass)

 

Plot Summary

The Ballyshannon foundered off the coast of Cariboo,

And down in fathoms many went the captain and the crew;

Down went the owners - greedy men whom hope of gain allured:

Oh, dry the starting tear, for they were heavily insured.

 

Besides the captain and the mate, the owners and the crew,

The passengers were also drowned, excepting only two:

Young Peter Gray, who tasted teas for Baker, Croop and Co.,

And Somers, who from Eastern shores imported indigo.

 

But sadly, because they have not been introduced, they are unable to start any form of conversation. Their isolated life continues on the island until, one day, they discover by chance a mutual acquaintance in their past. All is well, they can now talk, quickly become bosom friends, and the years fly by......until....

The Cast

Mr Gray
 a tea-taster
Mr Somers
 an indigo importer

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