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Vol. XXVII No. 6
March 2003
 - every sound becomes a song -

Sunday, March 30 at 2 PM:
LMLO THE GONDOLIERS

 In This Issue: 

Calendar:
Performances and auditions
in NE and elsewhere

Reviews 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last-Minute Light Opera

(How to get there - Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, MA)

The opera: GONDOLIERS. When and where: March 30 at 2 PM, Park Avenue Congregational Church, Arlington, MA. Conductor: David Larrick. Orchestra Manager: Vic Godin.

The cast: Casting director Carl Weggel's computer crashed on February 22, and won't be back up 'til next Wednesday, so if your e-message to him bounced within the last week, please try again next week, or phone him: programchair@negass.org or (978) 474-0396. Carl says nearly everyone who contacted him before the crash will have the roles or parts of roles they requested - he promises to phone folks with their roles as soon as he's got his computer files back.

Remember: LMLO has changed over the years. Especially since the addition of an orchestra, it's become very popular with audiences as well as performers, and it's rather more hoity-toity than it was in the days when it existed as nothing more than a chance for folks who couldn't carry a tune to try a role nobody would ever let them try on stage. It's even become less frequent to see cross-casting; people are requesting roles in their own fach, and doing them very well. However, Carl plans to avoid a tendency that has crept in recently, of allowing non-NEGASSers to take some roles. A non-NEGASSer who wants a role had better talk to Membership Chair Janice Dallas at membership@negass.org first!

The NEGASS Board wants to know how NEGASSers feel about the changes that have come to LMLO. Are you happy to see an amazingly good free pick-up performance? Or do you miss the old free-wheeling days of reckless silliness and improvisation?

spring and summer

The Roles

fall and winter

THE DUKE Of PLAZATORO (patter baritone)
LUIZ (his Attendant) (baritone or tenor)
DON ALHAMBRA DEL BOLERO (The Grand Inquisitor) (baritone)
MARCO PALMIERI (tenor)
GIUSEPPE PALMIERI (baritone)
ANTONIO (baritone)
FRANCESCO (tenor)
GIORGIO (baritone)
ANNIBALE (dialog only)
THE DUCHESS OF PLAZATORO (contralto)
CASILDA (soprano)
GIANETTA (soprano)
TESSA (mezzo-soprano)
FIAMETTA (soprano)
VITTORIA (soprano or mezzo)
GIULIA (soprano or mezzo)
INEZ (The King's Foster Mother) (mezzo or contralto)

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LAST MEETING: THE STORY OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN AT THE NEWTON FREE LIBRARY. [See our PDF version of February's Bray for comments about this very successful meeting, which has become another annual favorite.]

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ELECTIONS/FANTASY MEETING It's not too soon to start thinking about what you'd like to sing at this year's Elections/Fantasy meeting. (Perhaps there's a soprano who really wanted to sing the Duke in the LMLO GONDOLIERS? - or a baritone who really wanted to sing the Duchess?) This year's meeting will take place in May instead of June, and will be held in the Park Avenue Congregational Church instead of in a living room, so that we can focus more on the performance part of the meeting (since the election is always so short!).

It's not too soon to start thinking about your place on the Board, either. A new Board does need to be elected. Up for re-election this year are our Program Chair (a one-year term), Treasurer, President, and two Members at Large. The Board is starting to identify possible replacement candidates - and in some cases current holders of positions are eager to be re-elected - but the big problem remains: We will need a new President. Do we have a volunteer?

If you or anyone you know cares enough about NEGASS to help, please contact anyone on the Board to find out more about what we do, and what you can do with us. (Read the February Bray for more details about NEGASS's electoral situation.) - mlc

      
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PICNIC MEETING We'll hold this year's picnic on Sunday, Aug 24. Dave Sheldon is offering his home again, unless anyone else would like to volunteer. Any preference as to the opera we ought to sing through at the picnic? Tell Us your thoughts!

      
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Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2002-2003 

March 30 LMLO GONDOLIERS - choose your role!
May 18
Elections/Fantasy Day
August 24
Picnic Meeting

Next Bray Copy Deadline: April 27, 2003

Next Bray Stuffing: SATURDAY, May 3, 2003 at 3:00 PM at 111 Fairmont St, Arlington, MA. Call Us at (781) 646-9115 evenings and weekends, or send email to editor@negass.org for directions to Our easy-to-get-to Arlington home. -mlc

spring and summer

Member News

fall and winter

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members New Members Andrea Allen Knutson and Laurel Martin.

Andrea, who's that valued being, an Audience Member, joined in mid-January, using Our web form at http://www.negass.org/Pages/Join.html, but did not land in Our e-mail basket in time to be included in our last Bray - sorry!

Laurel tells Us: After being in Sudbury Savoyards' chorus for 2 years, she has just been elected to their Board of Trustees. She lives in Sudbury, MA and, besides singing, enjoys helping out backstage as a "techie". [Ah yes - techies - the ones who save performers from appearing naked in the dark on a bare stage!]

Hearty Greeting Offer We! -- mlc

For information on joining NEGASS, visit http://negass.org/Pages/Join.html.
To renew, contact Membership Chair Janice Dallas. 

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spring and summer

Articles

fall and winter

THE LORD OF THE RINGS, or The Land of Middle-earth - by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. We've heard various stories about where this came from, who wrote it, and why - was it a group effort by a recent Harvard G&S cast, or an individual brain-storm by a SavoyNet member? Can anyone tell Us the truth? - mlc

SCENE. -- Front yard of Bag End in Hobbiton, the Shire. Various hobbits discovered standing and sitting in various attitudes suggested by Rankin-Bass films and trippy illustrations from the 1970s.

CHORUS OF HOBBITS:

If you want to know who we are
We are gentlemen of the Shire;

[… and so on… -- mlc]
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FINANCIAL SUMMARY Since apparently there are people who actually enjoy reading such things, attached is a PDF version of a spreadsheet [open with Adobe Acrobat Reader] created by NEGASS treasurer Richard Freedman, comparing NEGASS's income and expenses for the year 2001-2002 with year-to-date 2002-2003. For those of us for whom columns of figures serve as a sure cure for insomnia, We'll merely state: NEGASS is doing fine financially! The curious are invited to contact Treasurer Dick at treasurer@negass.org to ask for details…

The big question remains: How shall we spend our wealth? Some funds are bookmarked forthe Carol Burdine Memorial Collection of G&S piano/vocal scores; some go towards ads to support the programs of local performance groups - any other ideas?

-- mlc
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G&S VOCAL SCORES IN PRINT On pages 4 & 5 of the most recent Bray, Mr. Arthur S. Koykka asked three questions about available G&S vocal scores. You were able to answered the third, regarding contacting Chappell & Co., but not the first two. The answers are:

First item "[A]re the Pinafore, Pirates, and Mikado scores edited by Simpson and Hammett Jones piano scores or full orchestral?": Both. These scores are published by Dover, and are available both in full score and in piano/vocal reductions. They are quite inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. Formatting and editing practices are questionable. For example, Pish-Tush and the Boatswain are listed as basses, the Captain as a bass-baritone, and Edith as a mezzo-soprano; also, patter-baritones are given a transposed treble clef while all other baritones are given a bass clef, and "traditional" modifications to the music and text are often given preference over what G&S wrote. Additionally, while Simpson and Hammett Jones try to indicate that these are critical editions, their sources are few and their comments and footnotes are sporadic, leaving some egregious mistakes/oversights in their editing. For example, they make the "traditional" replacements of the "nigger"s and "don't"s in Mikado, (made long after the authors' deaths), but make no mention that they've altered anything.

Second item "[A]re the Ida and Sorcerer piano scores better than Chappell?": If he is referring to mine, the answer is a resounding YES. That was rather the point of making them - I specifically designed the scores to offer what the Chappell and Kalmus scores didn't: clear, easy-to-read music & text, all the dialogue and stage directions, etc. I have also created chorus books for these operas, which also include all the intervening dialogue and lyrics in libretto format, so the Chorus can follow along at rehearsals and sings. Samples of these scores can be seen at www.preetatriangle.com.

-- DAVE LEIGH

Dave adds: G. Schirmer has advertised that they have made new editions of the vocal scores for PINAFORE, MIKADO, and PIRATES. I have taken a look at these editions, and indeed, each opera sports a new cover, and a new preface including synopsis, history and discography. On the other hand, the actual scores themselves are unchanged - they are page-by-page identical to the scores Schirmer has been selling for decades. Exactly the same product, just in a new and fancier wrapping.

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WHOLESALE LEXICONS If you have a need for multiple copies of Harry Benford's excellent G&S Lexicon, you'll be glad to learn that the publisher, Queensbury Press, will, for a limited time, make a reduction on taking a quantity.

While supplies last, Queensbury Press will ship one or more cartons of Lexicons (holding 14 volumes each) on consignment, with free shipping and handling, to a U.S. address. (That means they are asking for nothing in advance! If you live outside the US, you'll have to pay shipping - contact them to ask about that.) Although the list price for the Lexicon is $25.95, when you sell the books and are ready to pay for them, Q. Press will accept checks for a mere $12.00 per book, or $168 per carton.

This means that if your organization is planning a fund-raiser, and you think your members would like to take a first-rate opportunity to purchase a cut-rate Lexicon while aiding your cause, you could sell the books at below list price and still make a profit.

Send your orders or questions to: LexSpecialOffer@queensburypress.com or call toll-free in the U.S. at 1-866-538-8754

Offer made by Barbara Malone
Editor & Publisher, The Queensbury Press, Houston, TX USA
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THOMAS ROUND AUTOBIOGRAPHY For those who love their recordings of the star tenor during his years with the D'Oyly Carte Co., Carnegie Publishing, Ltd. will provide single copies of A Wand'ring Minstrel I: The Autobiography of Thomas Round for a low figure: just £20 - or will make multiple copies available at a discount. Call Claire of Marilyn at 00 44 (0) 1524 840111 or 840555, email carnegie@provider.co.uk , visit http://www.scotforthbooks.com or write:

Carnegie Publishing Ltd
Carnegie House, Chatsworth Road
Lancaster, LAI 4SL
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VICTORIANS REVIEWED The current issue of The Palace Peeper, the newsletter of the G&S Society of New York, prints a review by Brian Cooper of a book by Matthew Sweet: INVENTING THE VICTORIANS: What We Think We Know About Them and Why We're Wrong. Sounds fascinating! Mr. Sweet apparently points out that the Victorians were not nearly as "Victorian" as denizens of the 20th Century were wont to portray them - in fact, going by what Brian tells Us of Matthew's book, they sound quite Elizabethan! The book is published in NY by St. Martin's Press for $23.95, and sounds like it's worth a look. - mlc

REMEMBER OSLO? Ocean State Lyric Opera, remembered by long-time NEGASSers as Ocean State Light Opera (the focus of our summer picnic meetings years ago, when picnics meant taking in the OSLO show, then visiting Mrs. Shepherd in Bristol for the rest of the day) has changed its name again. It's now Opera Providence. Looks like it's solidly opera-based now - no more G&S!

-- mlc
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Reviews

PATIENCE AT SUDBURY SAVOYARDS: It was a cold, rainy, slushy Sunday afternoon, but Janet & I decided we needed some cheer and what better place than the cynosure of a Sudbury Savoyards' production of PATIENCE. The modern Lincoln-Sudbury High School Auditorium was about 70% full, and we took seats in the rear to get the full effect of the performance.

When the first crisp, concise opening notes of the overture filled the room, followed by a full-bodied overture, it was almost like hearing a performance by the BSO. Since the orchestra was hidden in the pit, it wasn't until I looked in the Playbill that it was apparent this was a FULL 38 piece orchestra. However, as a tribute to conductor Stephen Malionek, at no time did the orchestra ever overpower the voices, but added a very controlled accompaniment to the solos and choruses.

At the curtain opening Twenty love-sick maidens we were sung by 25 (or was it 26? I guess all the alternates showed up.) The staging included a detailed rendition of various fauna done in sap green tones. Across the stage rear was a huge lintel. The following details were enthusiastically provided to me by Andrea Roessler, (set designer, Playbill ad chief, official archivist, paint procurer, groom of the back stairs, etc.) The lintel, weighing 500 pounds, is real dentil molding made by Steve Malionek (the conductor, remember?) and the engineering was done by Ron Dallas who figured out how to support it on 12-foot long sewer pipes (guaranteed new, never used!).

The "grassy knoll", a small alcove, at stage left (also called Bunthorne's (Eric Ruben) Isolation Booth), included columns made from old wooden organ pipes. The placement of Bunthorne in this booth was extremely effective in focusing the audience's attention during solos. His Am I alone started there but he quickly moved to repeatedly traverse the full stage, giving a larger-than-life effect. At stage right was a working fountain with (sometimes noisy) running water.

At the entrance of Patience (Kathryn Denney), her milkmaid costume (no cows?) was a perfect contrast to the other aesthetically dressed maidens. Patience, and indeed all the soloists and chorus members showed excellent stage presence by moving about and using hands and arm movements to liven the performance, a tribute to stage director Kathy Lague. The smart entrance of the Dragoons, in perfect, classic uniforms, (costume designer Donna Roessler), was enforced by the dramatic red lighting of the backdrop, a tribute to lighting designer Scott Henderson.

Highpoints of this excellent, traditional performance included the Duke's (Ben Stevens) dramatic "toffee" speech, the entrance of Archibald (Bill Kuhlman) down the aisle through the audience and his great acting in Reflect, Lady Jane's (Leah Tsamous) wide-ranging, clear voice as well as her excellent humor and stage presence. She also was a good page turner for cellist Elizabeth Kinney in Sad is that Woman's lot. The fencing with lilies was unique in So go to him, but why no reprises? The finale, usually short and quick after all of the convolutions of the play, was clear, informative, and well acted, complete with Archibald's cockney accent to match that of Patience. Another super job by the Sudbury Savoyards!


--- ALLEN J. COHEN
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&&& More: I was very enthused about Sudbury's PATIENCE, which I saw last Friday. I believe that the orchestra playing (with only very few individual notes awry) was the best of the last several seasons; the female leads were at least outstanding; the costumes delightfully colorful; and there was no weak performance among the players.

Having lumped the females into one comment, I must say that the fellow who played the main soldier, Dennis O'Brien, was flawless to my ears. His patter was clean, and his singing better than that which is necessary. Bill Kuhlman, Eric Ruben, and Ted Koban were sufficiently "over the top" without falling off the peak, and the lead tenor (who has been in several of the recent productions) [Ben Stevens] kept up his end of the comedy and the tessitura.


--- HILDEBRAND
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&&& MORE!!! PATIENCE AT SUDBURY SAVOYARDS: It's always a pleasure to play in the orchestra for a solid show. Such was my good fortune with the Sudbury Savoyards' 2003 production of PATIENCE, featuring one of Sullivan's sunniest scores and Gilbert's genial wit.

The set design, by Andrea Roessler, was stunning. Ionic columns, marble balustrades entwined with ivy, a babbling fountain, and a pediment bearing the name of the poet du jour (first Bunthorne, then Grosvenor) set a high tone for the evening that was fully sustained by the cast.

Eric Ruben gave us a fine Bunthorne, who was self-absorbed but never mean. His regard for Lady Jane, building to the second-act finale, was entirely believable. Kathryn Denney was a lovely Patience, singing with a fresh, youthful tone, and moving with a dancer's grace. Bill Kuhlman, as Grosvenor, projected sincerity throughout his Idyllic Poet phase, and returned as a bracingly cheerful Waterloo House young man in the finale. The Lady Jane, Leah Tsamous, sang a wonderful "Sad is that woman's lot", with solo cellist Elizabeth Kinney, and left no doubt that she was equal to being a Duchess.

Dennis O'Brien's Colonel Calverley was beautifully handled. "If you want a receipt" was ideal, each word crisp and clear, phrased to bring out Gilbert's ingenious internal rhymes. O'Brien joined with Ted Koban (Major), Ben Stevens (Duke), Cynthia Ewing (Angela), Elaine Crane (Saphir), and Stephanie Mann (Ella) for a lovely "I hear the soft note". Dancing as well as singing talent was evident in the charming "If Saphir I choose to marry".

Music director Steve Malionek, with a clear beat and well-judged tempi, drew fine playing from the orchestra. Stage director Kathy Lague paced the evening admirably, and devised some excellent choreography for the great double chorus in Act I. The men's chorus was especially strong this year, and their entrance in "The soldiers of our Queen" was thrilling. The ladies sang with sweet lyricism in "Let the merry cymbals sound", accompanying themselves with finger cymbals.

My only quibble was with "It's clear that mediaeval art", which placed the Major so far upstage that his notes were inaudible. This left the Duke and the Colonel to sing in open fifths, which, come to think of it, sounded quite mediaeval.

Costume designer Donna Roessler outdid herself for Patience, clothed in buttercup-yellow and hyacinth-blue, with a fetching straw hat; and for Grosvenor, an Aesthetic vision in aqua moiré with jeweled buttons. The men looked handsome in their Guards uniforms, and the ladies were very pretty in Empire gowns of teal, violet, and sienna (kudos to wardrobe assistant Janice Dallas). This was a lovely show to see and hear. Congratulations to the Savoyards for a fine production!

-- ALESSANDRA KINGSFORD

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IN-PROGRESS PDF BRAY ARCHIVE We've been posting PDF versions of recent Brays on the web. What does this mean? It means that if you have a (free and easily accessible) copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can print out a copy of the issue you want, looking pretty much the same as the copy you received in the mail - in case you lost your old copy, or want to give a copy to someone else. Ultimately, We hope to create a more nearly complete archive of old Brays in PDF format.

Note: Very old issues of The Trumpet Bray are still available in The G & S Archives.

~~~

ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO THE TRUMPET BRAY:

All contributions are welcome, of course - but, strictly speaking, only activities and articles relating to G&S ought to be published. (…although an occasional Yes We Know It's Not slips by when the subject relates to a promising activity presented by long-standing and active member of NEGASS.)

  1. E-mail is the best way to send things! - marion@leedscarroll.com or editor@negass.org will get to Us equally well. (So will nearly anything else @negass.org, eventually...)
  2. The US Postal Service (aka "snail mail") is fine, too - send letters, preferably typed, or hand-written very clearly so that We can read and correctly reproduce names, dates, etc. - to NEGASS, PO Box 367, Arlington, MA 02476-0004.
  3. The Telephone is a very last choice. We do have an answering machine, but spellings of names and specifics of dates are awfully hard to be sure of when delivered by Word of Mouth (Oricular or otherwise), and We rarely have time to phone people back to check details. Please use the phone only if you have no other choice!
 -- mlc   
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