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Vol. XXIV No. 9  
  Congratulate me, gentlemen!  

Sunday, June 18 at 2:00PM: ELECTIONS AND FANTASY DAY

Tentative Meeting Schedule, 1999-2000 

  Sunday, June 18

Election Meeting plus Fantasy performances 

  Sunday, August 27

Picnic Meeting plus MIKADO Sing, details TBA 

 Electoral Slate 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   JUNE MEETING: ELECTIONS AND FANTASY DAY.†  

On Sunday, June 18 at 2:00 PM weíll gather at the home of Ron and Janice Dallas at 63 Everett St. Arlington, MA for our annual Election of NEGASS Officers.† (That should take about five minutes.)† Weíll spend the rest of the afternoon living out our Fantasies by singing and playing anything we like from the world of G and/or S, accompanied by the excellent Eric Schwartz.† Are you a mezzo who has always longed to sing the Nightmare Song from IOLANTHE? Ė We have known it done!† How about a baritone who longs to sing Iím called Little Buttercup Ė gee, thatís happened, too! Ė Or someone who will never be cast in a particular role, or who has sung it but is longing to sing it again Ė or how about someone who canít sing, but would like to do a bit of dialogue?† - even dialogue from a Gilbert non-musical play! - or a singer whoíd like to try a Sullivan art song!† Share your fantasies!

HOW TO GET THERE: 63 EVERETT STREET, ARLINGTON, MA (Call 781 643-2537 for more info)

ELECTORAL SLATE

After some behind-the-arras machinations, the current Board is ready to announce a recommended slate of new officers.† We must announce first that Patricia Brewer, our honored President, has found it necessary to step down from that exalted office under pressure from her new career: After having spend the past several years following and training for her personal fantasy, she is now employed as a nurse.† Vice President Don Smith has stepped into her dainty shoes - well, anyway, heís agreed to take on the title of President, thus opening the way for a re-shuffling of volunteers for other positions.† So the Boardís recommended slate runs somewhat thus:

President Don Smith
Vice President Jennifer Morris
Secretary Peter Cameron
Membership Chair Janice Dallas
Company Promoter Linda Silverstein
Hospitality Chair (refreshments) - Carol Mahoney
And- news flash! - Program Chair Art Dunlap

Carl Weggel has also offered to take part as an unofficial Member at Large, available to help out the Company Promoter and the Program Chair as needed.

Clearly, reports of NEGASSís demise have been greatly exaggerated. (Yes, We know it isnít Ė but itís still a good quote! Ė mlc)

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MAY 21 MEETING:† G&S MASTER CLASS

The master class led by Eileen St. David, with accompaniment by Eric Schwartz, was a great success.† The good-sized audience, bolstered by the class participants themselves, enjoyed learning by listening to (and watching)† Eileenís suggestions, as well as listening to fine singing made better by those suggestions.

The class started with Kris Maples, who shared her lovely soprano in The sun, whose rays from MIKADO.†† Next, Fred Hughes introduced us to The Prince of Monte Carlo (the Heraldís song) from GRAND DUKE.† Katherine Bryant delighted us with Were I thy bride from YEOMEN, and Arthur Dunlap poured out his splendid voice in When all night long from IOLANTHE.† Mary H. V. Turner, who had been considering singing a contralto number, proved that she is still a soprano Ė and a good one, too! Ė in I cannot tell what this love may be from PATIENCE. Dan Kamalic and Rick Copeland concluded the class by showing us two excellent but very different versions (baritone and bass, respectively) of Oh, better far to live and die from PIRATES.

At Janice Dallasís excellent suggestion, We asked members of the class to tell Us how they felt about the experience, and to tell Us whether they thought NEGASS ought to sponsor such a program again Ė and received two replies:

&&& To me the biggest "BANG" one gets from participation in a G&S Master-class is the sense of experiencing what a lead would encounter in rehearsal. Though I personally get the fullest satisfaction of show participation from being in the chorus, it's nice to get a glimpse of the other half of rehearsal. Eileen seems to have a natural knack for working with performers. To me, the Master-class is a unique Gilbert and Sullivan experience that certainly deserves a NEGASS meeting slot. A good time was surely had by all.†††

-- FRED HUGHES     

&&& I arrived late at the Master Class, but was immediately struck by the warmth with which the listeners applauded the participant who finished just before me.  It made having to get up on stage immediately (and with no warm up) a lot easier. I sang I cannot tell what this love may be from PATIENCE.  Then Eileen -- with some helpful comments from the audience -- gave a lot of input concentrating on both motivation and physical presentation of the song.  Although the emphasis was not on changing a person's vocal technique, by the time each participant's 20-minute session was up, we were all singing more freely, beautifully, and in character.  Thank you so much for providing the opportunity to make a lot of progress in a short time with Eileen's gentle, humorous presentation (threats to tape my hands to my side notwithstanding!), a fabulous accompanist (Eric Schwartz), and an enthusiastic audience.

 -- MARY H. VESENKA TURNER     

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MERITOREOUS SCHOLARSHIP

The Reward of Merit?  An Examination of the Suppressed De Belville Song in Gilbert and Sullivan's IOLANTHE

...is the title of the paper Bruce I. Miller and Helga J. Perry will be presenting at the 11th International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music at Royal Holloway, University of London on Thursday, 29 June 2000, during an evening session entitled "The Victorian Era."† Hereís an abstract of the paper, which Bruce & Helga posted recently to SavoyNet:

The song  De Belville was regarded as the Crichton of his age is perhaps the most intriguing of the "lost songs" in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon. Originally included in Act II of Iolanthe, the seventh of the Savoy operas, this song has tantalized Savoyards since 1882.  It was performed at the simultaneous London and New York premieres, but was cut almost immediately thereafter. Although the words survive in a few sources, the music (which was never published) sank without a trace.

Various theories have been propounded about the music of the "De Belville" song, and about how this music may have been recycled.  In our paper we review the existing body of knowledge, and describe details of a recently discovered orchestral part - the only musical source of this song to have surfaced in the 118 years since the two premiere performances.  This unique fragment enables us to confirm some conjectures, and reject others. Furthermore, it permits fresh insights to be made into the process by which Gilbert and Sullivan created their operas.

Sounds interesting? Ė but you canít make it to England for the conference?† Be patient! - NEGASS has invited Bruce to read the bill [oops - wrong lost songÖ] paper a second time for us right here in NE on October 15.† More news as it breaks!† ††

- - mlc     

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YIDDISH G&S

†Greetings from New York.  A query on page 5 of the April/May 2000 Trumpet Bray asks about the G&S Yiddish Light Opera Co.  As it happens, I have performed with this group.  As far as I know, the company does not have a website, but there is an e-mail address: GnSYiddish@aol.com.  I'm sure people can get any information they need through e-mail.  The people in this company are extremely nice. Take care† - ††

--† JEFF KURNIT     

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GENTLEMAN IN BLACK

Janice Dallas gleaned this from SavoyNet: Ö responding to an item in the delightful [sic!] Trumpet Bray from NEGASS, the brilliant Jonathan Strong's Gentleman in Black by Gilbert, to which he has placed music by Sullivan (as he did for Thespis when we did the world premiere of it in Hartford in 1989) is now available.† I've received a handsome copy and it is fascinating.  I was especially grateful to receive (last week) a copy of his and Dr. John Dreslin's self-published score--now ready for a big publisher.  John, who is conductor of CG&SS as well as the East Lyme Arts Council, has done it all on computer and accompanists will find that the pages lie flat and are easy to turn.  Anyone who hasn't seen the premiere version, or the slightly altered version produced by Bill Venman a year later in† Northampton, can easily buy copies.  Just ask!   Thank you, again, [Ralph] MacPhail and Venman for all you did (and DO) for Savoyards--and to the other heroes of the art form who are doing so much in so many ways, using them as role models.

- ROBERT CUMMING     

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NEW COMPOSITIONS CONSIDERED

Bob Weingart, whose musical setting of Mary Finnís libretto for The Foundling was a great success several years ago, responded to news of Jonathan Strongís work with The Gentleman in Black by commenting that another way of dealing with such ďorphan scriptsĒ would be to compose original music for them, and commented that he is "toying with the idea.. Anyway, what I'm wondering is how I could get hold of some these orphan scripts to read through them and settle on one to set.  Do you have them? Are copies easy to order?  (Don't forget that I'm in Japan....)  A musicologist I'm not.Ē"

We personally donít know how one might get hold of such scripts - particularly if one were in Japan.† Any advice for Bob? Send it to Us and Weíll publish it.†

Ė mlc     

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FULL SCORE FOR IDA

Janice gleaned this as well: †I'm happy to announce the availability of a new, full (conductor's) score to IDA.  It's based on the orchestra parts available from Kalmus (and compatible with them).  Typeset parts are also available.

For more information about these materials, as well as my SORCERER and COX AND BOX materials, please see my website --

DAVID LARRICK, dcl@ties.org     

David adds: †The parts and score were "beta-tested" by the MIT G&S Players recent production, whose marvelous orchestra was conducted by yours truly.

As I mentioned, the materials are based on the Kalmus parts.  In particular, a set of parts owned by Valley Light Opera of Amherst, graciously lent to me by Bill Venman.†††††††††††††††††††

-- DAVID LARRICK

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THE TRUE EMBODIMENT OF EVERYTHING THATíS EXCELLENT

†Thatís the title of an article† about G&S by Stephen Jay Gould, published in the Vol. 69 No 2 Spring 2000 issue of The American Scholar, a publication of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.† Gould explains that, although these works are ďoften dismissed asÖ an embarrassment to anyone with modern intellectual pretensionsÖ I may nowĒ [following the popular success of Topsy-Turvy] ďemerge from decades of (relative) silence to shout my confession that I love these pieces with all my heart, and that I even regard them as epitomes of absolute excellence for definable reasons that may help us to understand this most rare and elusive aspect of human potential.Ē† Gould then goes into a lengthy philosophical discussion regarding the definition of excellence, settling on G&S as crack specimens - the pick of the basket.† The article is far too long even for excerpts Ė but Weíd be happy, upon request, to lend Our copy, which was provided to Us by Elizabeth Stone.† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††

Ė mlc     

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SUDBURY SAVOYARDS ANNOUNCE NEW BOARD

The Sudbury Savoyards elect board members who then choose positions on the board.† We understand that new officers and staff this year include

  • Katherine Meifert as Chairman
  • Donna Roessler as Second Trombone
  • Jon Saul [a new NEGASSer!] as Secretary
  • Terri Meehan as Treasurer
  • Mike Daniels as Church Liaison
  • Jim Parmentier as Company Promoter
    Continuing on are:
  • Marianne Hatton as Theatre Liaison
  • Tom Powers as Newsletter Editor
  • Andrea Roessler as Archivist
  • Mike Bromberg as Lighting rental agent
  • Janice Dallas as costume rental agent
  • Stoney Ballard as Web master

Larry Seiler is remaining temporarily as Task List Manager, but is looking for a replacement so that he can move on to other things.

Information provided by Janice Dallas Ė mlc   

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TROUPERS LIGHT OPERA GONDOLIERS

[Bobbie Herman sent Us this review culled from SavoyNet - canít imagine why she would have done soÖ ]† I have been meaning to post something since Sunday, when I spent a lovely Spring afternoon watching Bobbie Herman and her Connecticut cohorts in a delightful GONDOLIERS.

This company attracts wonderful principals.  Of the people we "know," Bobbie is, by turns, a lovely contadina and then a terrific mystical, dentally-challenged Inez.  She has chosen to speak rather than sing the thankless recit (a good choice, I think--more on this in a later post). 

Tom Zimmerman was a ringer as Don Alhambra at QWERTYConn--the full effect with Vincent Price make-up and swirling coat is fabulous.  Great voice, great panache--Tom owns the stage.

The Venetian quartet sings and acts beautifully.  My friend Jane Bernd is Gianetta, so I'm a little partial, but the Tessa (who was great as Phoebe last year) has crystal-clear diction and vocal tone, and a sparkling presence.  Marco & Giuseppe are equally good, either one the envy of any company (including one or more companies in New York City, where, I'm told, Marco lives). 

Actually, all the leads sing very well.  (A Program would be of some help here, wouldn't it?)  The youngish Duke grew on me throughout--by Act II I was a big fan.

Nice set, great costumes. 

A few orchestral problems, some hard to ignore.  But that's so like a band.  This group performs at New Canaan High School, in a huge auditorium.  I guess that this makes miking de rigueur, but it's pretty bad.  Hard, at times, to tell who's singing.

I also guess that this group, like many small amateur groups, has a dearth of lead singers emerging from the chorus.  One very capable soprano sings Fiametta, Giulia AND Vittoria (makes the duets difficult...).

The chorus is a good size ("and we are ALMOST twenty..."), and nicely balanced.

All told...wonderful singers, some funny (and silly) bits (e.g. the Duke of Plaza-Toro.com), a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.  ††††††††††††††††††† †††††††

--CAROL DAVIS     

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New Mikado Scores from Dover - Review by Marc Shepherd

Marc, a G&S scholar who serves as Listmaster for SavoyNet, has kindly sent Us a combined version of the two separate reviews of the new Dover editions of MIKADOĖ Full Score and Piano/Vocal editions -which he has published on that list.† Unfortunately the combined review is so long that We cannot fit it into a single BrayĖ so We will publish it in installments.† Hereís this monthís section:

The full scores of the Savoy Operas have not fared well as far as published editions go. Only The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore had editions during Sullivanís lifetime (the latter in a German translation). That was it until the 1970s and í80s, when Kalmus put out editions of the nine most popular operas. In the 1980s, Ernst Eulenberg published a new critical edition of THE GONDOLIERS, but its utility was severely limited by a miniature format unreadable from the conducting stand and the lack of other scores and parts that agreed with it. In 1994, Broude Brothers published the full score of TRIAL BY JURY , a full-dress scholarly edition that finally gave one of Sullivanís operas the respect it deserved. A scholarly edition of Ruddigore from Oxford University Press appeared in early 2000.

The Kalmus full scores published in the í70s and í80s were of widely varying quality. Kalmus did MIKADO a singular disservice by simply reprinting the 1893 Bosworth edition. Despite being prepared directly from the composerís autograph score, that edition was full of errors, difficult to read, and contained many of the wrong words (in some cases pre-first-night lyrics). If this isnít bad enough, the Kalmus score retails for $160.00.

In the computer age, anyone can be a music publisher, but not necessarily a good one. William V. Dorwart publishes an expensive MIKADO full score, but the editor silently incorporates his own "improvements," leaving the conductor unsure where Sullivan ends and Dorwart begins. Larry Simons offers a score free for download over the Internet, but the format is unwieldy, and it will look ugly unless your printer matches the resolution Simons used.

With the only available full scores so badly flawed, and two of them wildly overpriced, it is not difficult to do better, as editors Carl Simpson and Ephraim Hammett Jones certainly appear to have done. At $19.95, Doverís full score is an irresistible buy. The companion vocal score, at $12.95, is priced to compete with the other available vocal scores.

My endorsement of the Dover MIKADO comes with caveats. While I found few outright errors (i.e., words or notes that couldnít possibly be right), there are many inconsistencies (i.e., apparently similar textual problems not treated similarly). Compare the Dover text with other available texts, and you will be hard pressed to comprehend the editorsí thought process. They apparently have an incomplete under≠standing of the sourcesí relationships, and the criteria guiding their decisions seem at times cavalier.

Cosmetically, the Dover MIKADO is simply gorgeous. It is professionally typeset using modern fonts and notation. The dialogue is printed in a large font that will be easily readable in a dark theater. I found no examples of notes or words being cramped into too little spaceóoften the sign of amateur musical typesetting. The score needs more use in field conditions before judgment can be passed, but at first look it appears to be a significant improvement over all of the others currently available.

Both full score and vocal score begin with an introduction that explains the background of MIKADO and provides a brief overview of the editorial procedure. As far as I recall, this in≠troduction marks the first time in a mass-market publication that the famous story about the sword falling off the wall of Gilbertís study is debunked. Brian Jones first punctured this myth in the inaugural issue of the W. S. Gilbert Society Journal, in 1985. Itís high time that authors stopped rehashing it.

Some of the editorsí statements are more doubtful. They say that MIKADOís record for 672 consecutive performances was not broken until 1922, but in fact Cellier and Stephen≠sonís Dorothy broke it with 931 performances not long after Mikado closed. We could probably have done without a lengthy synopsis that seems patronizing and contains a number of errors.

To the discussion of their editorial procedure, the editors devote just two parsimonious paragraphs. On the one hand, it is two paragraphs more than any of the other available MIKADO scores gives us. Yet, the editors are silent on a number of easily answered questions. Chief among them: what state of MIKADO does this edition represent? It is evidently a hybrid.

For example, the role of Pish-Tush is presented in a first-night state: he is allotted the brief solo after the opening chorus, the bass line in "So please you sir," and the bass line in the Madrigal. The edition makes no mention of the introduction of the character Go-To shortly after the opera opened. Yet, the bassoon chuckle in Three little maids (generally agreed to have been added during one of the revivals) is included, and the two occurrences of the n-word are silently emended with their traditional replacements.

The bassoon encore to The flowers that bloom in the spring (also a later addition) is included as Number 20a in the full score, but is omitted in the vocal score. The edition does not restart the numbering at 1 for Act II, even though Sullivanís autograph, the Bosworth edition, all early vocal scores and all Chappell vocal scores to the present day, do so.

Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted appears in its first-night state, and there are footnoted instructions explaining the changes required for the traditional one-verse form. Alternate words for this later version are provided in italics, an arrangement that performers are sure to find confusing. It is also inconsistent that there is no explanation of how to reduce So please you sir from quintet to quartet, or indeed, no mention that this change ever occurred. The vocal score adds a footnote explaining that the number is traditionally given as a quartet, but the instructions for how to convert it to that form are incorrect.

The editorsí two primary sources appear to have been Sullivanís autograph score and the Bosworth Edition.

-- MARC SHEPHERD     

More next month!† Here are citations Marc provided for the volumes he is discussing:

The MIKADO in Full Score

Dover Publications Inc: Mineola, NY, 1999
xvi + 352 pages; $19.95

The MIKADO Vocal Score

Dover Publications Inc: Mineola, NY, 2000
x + 246 pages; $12.95

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MORE ON QWERTY:

In response to Our note in the last Bray, Bobbie Herman sent Us another recent SavoyNet posting by listmaster Marc Shepherd:† This post by Clive Woods, from the SavoyNet archives, explains the origins of the term:

. . . . . . the story begins some two years [from 1 Sept. 1999] ago following the first fully-costumed SavoyNet show, viz COX AND BOX at the Buxton Fest1997. Those involved thought it would be a good idea to have a "wind-down" meeting afterwards (i.e. an excuse for the copious consumption of beer). Simultaneously the concept of putting on the following year's show (which turned out to be TRIAL) was being discussed, and the possibility of having a "pre-rehearsal" to make sure we could actually get through the music was being batted about on S'net. I believe it was Kelsey who started heading his messages on this subject something like "C&BMUTBJRTWE" (i.e., C&B meet-up, TbJ run-through - whatever") and after a few of these someone (it may have been me, but memories are hazy now) got fed up of the virtuoso typing required for this, and instead opted for the easier-to-type "QWERTYUIOP". (If you haven't yet twigged, the easiest way to type this is a glissando along the top row of keys.) So there you have it!†

†--† CLIVE WOODS     

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Weíd like to remind folks:† To subscribe to SavoyNet, the G&S mailing list, send the message "Subscribe SavoyNet (your full name)" to the address - and youíll be sent all the information you need.

The SavoyNet production planned for the next International G&S Festival in Buxton, England, will be YEOMEN, and will take place on Monday, August 7,† 2000.†† Join SavoyNet to ask for more details!

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IN SITU G&S

Alessandra Kinsford sends Us part of a program from the Covent Garden Opera Festival 2000 which mentions, ďThe festivalís longest running show has been TRIAL in Bow St. Magistratesí Courts, and this year it moves to the Law Courts in the Strand as well, and the opera-in-situ tradition is maintained with Opera Della Lunaís PINAFORE aboard HMS President in the Thames.Ē† Alessandra asks, ďDo you know of any New England GS shows that have been performed ďin situĒ?† It would be a great idea Ė imagine TRIAL at Concord District Court, or PINAFORE on the U.S.S. Constitution!Ē

Actually, Our seive-like brain still holds memories of a PINAFORE done last summer on a ship in - was it Mystic, CT?† Moreover - see the Calendar for a ship-shape summer production planned by the Boston Academy of Music!†††††††

Ė mlc     

 

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