The Festival Entertains with a Full-Scale Musical Production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Engaged

20/08/2017

G&S

Gilbert & Sullivan, Engaged: Festival production by Alan Borthwick and Friends, Harrogate Festival, Royal Hall, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England  11.8.2017. (RJW)

G&SI

Gilbert & Sullivan’s Engaged (c) Raymond Walker

Cast:

Cheviot Hill – Geoff Lee
Belvawney – Simon Boothroyd
Symperson – Ian Lawson
Angus Maclister – Giles Longstaff
Major Muggeridge – Andrew Crawford
Belinda Trehern – Annabel Hamid
Minnie – Gillian Robertson
Mrs Macfarlane – Fiona Main
Cora – Claire Turnbull

Production:

Director – Alan Borthwick
Musical Director – David Lyle

This performing group from Edinburgh is well known at the Festival, and they delight in bringing obscure plays and operas by Gilbert and/or Sullivan. This year is no exception. After the Gilbert copyright had expired in 1961, George Roswell & Kenneth Mobbs set to work adapting Gilbert’s play Engaged (1877) into a comic opera using Sullivan’s lesser known music. The piece first played professionally at the Theatre Royal, Windsor in 1962 and a vocal score was published by Chappell in 1963. As a piece it has some interesting corners yet it follows Ages Ago by being rather wordy despite George Rowell’s condensing of Gilbert’s original play lines. However, the music is successful and the choice of items by Sullivan from his rarely heard operas are well fitting, particularly “Little Maid of Arcadee” (Thespis) and “Won’t it be a Pretty Wedding”, a lovely number that is used with later repeat. The Rose of Persia is heard in a few of the numbers, and the Di Ballo overture make an appearance. Usefully, the programme lists the origination of the musical numbers.

It helped the audience to know in advance the basic plot: travellers to a remote refreshment and boarding cottage on the border of England and Scotland enhance their custom by occasionally putting logs on a nearby railway line to cause an accident and stop the train. They then can offer refreshment and hospitality to the distraught passengers, but on this occasion get something more than they bargained for. Romance is in the air both on the train and within the village settlement and so marriages are forthcoming.

The lassies of the village gave the opening act a bright and cheery start followed by the introduction of local characters. After an off-stage explosion some of the train passengers appeared, sooner than expected perhaps, and conveniently only men. Of them Cheviot, a larger than life character, was well played by Geoff Lee. Minnie Symperson (Gillian Robertson) and Cheviot sang well in their “Penny Roll” number while Belinda (Annabel Hamid) and Belvawney (Simon Boothroyd) gave good support in the charming Rose of Persia number “Poor Me”.

The costumes were excellent and nicely matched the period. Only astray was the use of modern sunglasses for a temporary disguise, and a silver helium-filled balloon which I would have liked to pop. The lighting and Drawing Room set looked well and much care had been taken over a well-filled wedding breakfast table.

Raymond J Walker

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! The Twelfth English Music Festival Coming Soon in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum in June __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018/19 Birmingham Classical Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe Star in The King and I at the London Palladium __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 BBC Proms __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! The London Orchestra Project’s Metamorphosen on 27 May at LSO St Luke’s __________________________________
  • NEW! MARKUS POSCHNER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Newly Discovered Song by Alma Mahler to be Performed in Oxford and Newbury __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month