(How to get there - 63 Everett St, Arlington, MA)
On Sunday, September 21 at 2:00 PM, at the home of Janice and Ron Dallas, 63 Everett St in Arlington, MA. The Bab Ballads, Gilbert’s comic poems, are fun in themselves, and are also the basis of many of the G&S operas. Harvard University Press has recently issued a handsome, newly-designed paperbound printing of NEGASSer Jim Ellis’s edition of the poems. Jim finds that he cannot attend our September meeting, but we still plan to share some of these delightful pieces.
If you have a favorite you’d like to read, let Program Chair Dave Leigh [(781) 894-3009 or firstname.lastname@example.org] know which one. Dave suggests that since we’re featuring PINAFORE, readings should include "Captain Reece" and "The Bumboat Woman's Story" - but he calls dibs on "The Yarn of the Nancy Bell."
Not to leave Sullivan entirely out of the meeting, we will be singing selections from PINAFORE. Tom Dawkins will be at the piano, and all are welcome to sing along.
LAST MEETING: PICNIC/RUDDIGORE: On Saturday, Aug 23, we returned to the home of Dr. and Mrs. David Sheldon, last year’s picnic hosts, for an impromptu sing-through of RUDDIGORE, followed by feasting, chatting, and more singing – this time following along with the various videos the Sheldons had playing in different rooms in their house. Tom Dawkins took over as accompanist, in Juliet Cunningham’s last-minute absence (even using Juliet’s electric keyboard!), playing from one of NEGASS’s new Oxford editions of the opera, which were also used by several of the singers.
Rebecca Burstein was a sweet but firm young Rose. Janice Dallas was a strong Zorah. Randi Kestin obviously had as much pleasure in the role of Hannah as she gave us. There were a couple of new members present (additions from Juliet's summer sings): Skyler Wrench as a convincing Despard, and Allegra Martin as a lovely and melodious Margaret. Dave Leigh was a fine Robin, seconded by Peter Cameron as Old Adam. Sheldon Hochman definitely has the voice for Roderick... Whom have we left out? Martha Birnbaum read Ruth’s lines, we all took turns with the ghosts... oh, and, in the absence of a tenor, Marion Leeds Carroll was Richard.
BILL BURDINE’S MEMORIAL SERVICE: Of course, many NEGASSers were present at First Parish in Lexington on August 24 to pay their respects to the man we knew as a musician and G&S specialist – but we were barely visible among the crowd of admirers of this multi-faceted man, for whom instrumental music was actually a late interest. Who could have guessed that Bill did not pick up the bassoon until middle age?! Members of various orchestras (G&S being only one style) which he had belonged to or organized mingled with engineers, churchmen, veterans, and sailing aficionados – and even a relative who played a guitar and sang a folk song in memory of Bill’s delight in that activity.
Woodwind, brass, and mixed ensemble music, interspersed with vocal and instrumental solos, choral works (of course, the Sudbury Savoyards sang) and congregational singing, made up the bulk of the service, but prayers and tributes read by Rev. David Boyer, by Nancy Burdine, and by Bill and Nancy’s daughter, Margaret Karponsky, were equally beautiful and moving.
Bill’s memorial service will not soon be forgotten. Neither will Bill.
Tentative Meeting Schedule, 2003-2004
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome We New Members David Owen and Allegra Martin.
David writes: First appeared in chorus of SLOC's 1994 YEOMEN. Has since served on SLOC Board, construction crews. Produced SLOC's 1999 show but prefers on stage role! Currently active with Sudbury Savoyards.
Allegra was first introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan as a choir member at Follen Church in Lexington, where, due to a shortage of men, she got all the baritone leads. She currently works part-time at Harvard University doing computer support, and Longy School of Music in Cambridge, doing development work. In her spare time she sings with the Back Bay Chorale and studies taekwondo. She is also in the process of assembling a chorus to perform new works by local composers, so if any singers are interested, please feel free to contact her! [email@example.com ]
Tell Us, Tell Us All About It! - Hearty Greeting Offer We! -- mlc
OCTOBER 19: NEGASS IOLANTHE SING-THROUGH AT JANICE DALLAS’S HOUSE: Every year, when I get the NEGASS renewal forms back, I get a few requests for more sing-throughs. This year Isabel Leonard volunteered to play the piano if someone was willing to host an "informal meeting" for a sing-through. I decided that I'd volunteer my house and see who turns up to sing around the piano! We've decided to do IOLANTHE on Sunday, Oct. 19th at 2pm. This isn't a regular meeting, so consider it a social occasion for NEGASSers and their spouses, significant others, friends, etc. Isabel will be the designated pianist, but would be happy to shift to singing some numbers if others would like to have a go at the keyboard.
We'll decide roles on that day, dependant on who turns up and volunteers. Bring your own IOLANTHE scores, though I have the NEGASS copies to borrow if you don't own one. Since I don't live in a large church hall, I'd like an e-mail (Janice@dallas-family.com) or phone call (781-643-2537) if you are coming so I can gather up chairs, etc. Bring something edible to share, if you can.
HOW TO GET THERE: see directions to the September meeting.
OCTOBER 25: MEMORIAL CONCERT FOR BRUCE MILLER – not an actual meeting, but an expected gathering of NEGASSers and others! Janice Dallas spread the news: A memorial concert on Saturday evening October 25 has been planned by Bruce’s students and colleagues as the central event of a weekend celebration of Bruce’s life. The concert will take place at the Hogan Ballroom, in the Hogan Campus Center at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Details about the celebration are available at: http://www.bruceimiller.com/fall.html
Any singers and instrumentalists interested in taking part in a performance of the Mozart Requiem are welcome to arrive early for a rehearsal and to join in. Contact Braden Mechley at PO Box 94-A, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St, Worcester, MA 01610 or firstname.lastname@example.org to take part, or to make a donation to help make this weekend happen.
TO GET THERE: Detailed directions to the College are available
Enter Holy Cross at Gate 7 (last gate on the left on College Street), and look for the Hogan Center, the second building on your left, with the large silver cross on it. Visitor Parking is to the right of the building. The Center is handicapped accessible: a lift is located at the front doors on the parking level, making it possible to avoid stairs.
DECEMBER: NEGASS sometimes used to hold holiday parties in December. Is anyone up for that this year? We could come in costume as G&S characters, or just show up in fancy holiday garb… We could play G&S-themed charades or other party games… We could sing things in addition to G&S if we liked… We could eat and drink all sorts of interesting things… Anybody like the idea? Anyone want to host a party (Janice Dallas is willing), or shall we rent a hall? Anyone have ideas for appropriate Victorian party activities? E-mail or phone new Program Chair Dave Leigh with your thoughts: (781) 894-3009 or email@example.com
A COMPARISON OF THREE SORCERER SCORES: It is easy to find vocal scores for the well-known G&S shows; in many cases now there are a few editions to choose from. For the “Big Three,” in addition to Schirmer, there are Dover piano-vocal and full scores. We also have the Broude TRIAL and the Oxford RUDDIGORE, two good critical editions certainly superior to their Schirmer counterparts. TRIAL is pricey, especially if you want a full score; RUDDIGORE is actually less expensive than Schirmer and Kalmus for both the vocal and full scores. But, should you want to perform SORCERER, IDA, or UTOPIA, you have had no choice at all but to buy the Kalmus reprints of old English scores, and for DUKE, you have to send to Chappell in the UK.
At least, these were the options until the rise of computer music publishing. There are now online scores of several operas, as well as miniature G&S publishing companies, trumpeting their new and superior (?) editions. The results are quite often unsatisfactory – e.g., large PDF files that you have to print out yourself - or expensive.
In the case of SORCERER, we now have at least three choices, which I am reviewing here. There is the Cramer/Kalmus score, the online score available from Troupers Light Opera, and a new edition from Preeta Triangle Publications, edited by our own program chair David Leigh, who has also edited a version of IDA.
I need not spend much time on the Kalmus reprint. It’s twenty dollars and fairly illegible, as any singer or pianist who has tried to work with it knows. It has pages that must be highlighted to figure out which line is for whom, the clefs change, and “Dear friends” [Constance’s Act II song] is in D-flat only. The only slight advantage I can see to this score is that orchestral parts (but no full score) are available which presumably match, but as the vocal score has no rehearsal letters or measure numbers, I see no reason why a conductor should have to suffer through trying to decipher the tiny print. There is no dialogue in the score either, so a libretto has to be provided to the actors and then pasted in at the proper places.
The Troupers Light Opera score [edited by Jim Cooper] seems to be mostly a computer reworking of the Kalmus score, making no attempt to correct errors, and giving you boxed rehearsal numbers so that the two scores can be used at the same time. It also has rehearsal letters for the Kalmus parts, a very small advantage.
There are many drawbacks to this score. The first is that it’s only available online and you have to print it out yourself, which takes a long time even with a laser printer. Then if you want it double sided and bound, you have to go to the local copy shop, persuade them to copy music for you (some won’t) and pay for the binding. [We are all too well aware that some copy shops will refuse to copy materials that they fear may be under copyright – but We objected to the reviewer that Our computer is capable of printing double-sided – to which he replied that, although his computer permits this, his printer is not set up to do it – and there’s still the question of binding… although there are three-rings binders out there…]
This score isn’t particularly elegant, and does not follow a lot of the most basic printed music conventions. Stems in multiple-voice passages in the piano go in the wrong direction, as do ties and slurs. The beaming is frequently awkward. In much of the score, the two lines of the piano part are separated, making it difficult to read. The expression markings are tiny, the layout on the page is inconsistent, and the underlay is vague at times. (I will add one aside: I printed out the score in November of 2002 and apparently it has been revised since then, but having downloaded the new overture, I see few improvements). If you want the dialogue, it is provided separately as a Word file, which you have to print out and then salt into the pages of the score.
I am not in the habit of puffing goods, but the new score from Preeta Triangle is by far the best. From the beginning, there are many convenient features, such as ranges listed in the Dramatis Personae, editorial notes, and an appendix containing the E Major version of “Dear Friends.” The printing is clear, the piano part kind to the accompanist, with many cautionary accidentals. Clefs are standardized to modern usage throughout (the one exception, Dr. Daly’s part in the Act II finale, is clearly noted both in the score and in the editorial notes), and when there are a large number of solo lines, they are labeled at the start of each system.
Some people may not like the fact that the vocal parts are beamed in a style more common to instrumental music: that is, instead of each word or syllable being given a separate stem, phrases are connected. I personally find rhythms easier to read when they are beamed this way. (For an example, think of the tricky sixteenth notes in the “Oh marvelous illusion” chorus). There are a few minor errors in convention that I am told will be corrected in the next printing. When I say minor, I mean a couple of inverted ties, and the fact that the first bar of a piece generally shouldn’t carry a measure number.
The dialogue is clearly printed and in its proper place, and it’s nice to see Dr. Daly’s flageolet solo on his line, where the accompanist is less likely to jump in and play it should the baritone be so fortunate as to play the recorder or flageolet himself.
Given that all three scores are at the same price point ($20 for the Kalmus, at least $15 at the copy store plus your own paper and printer ink/toner for the Troupers Light Opera, and $18 for the Preeta Triangle), I would certainly choose the latter, both as a singer and pianist. I have not examined the IDA score yet, but if it is similar to SORCERER, I would endorse it myself as well. This is not merely another edition printed in haste to increase legibility and/or reduce costs for a single production or company. It is a legitimate new edition and should be regarded as such.
Now if Dave will provide us with a full score and parts...
SING-OUT AGAIN! Victorian Lyric Opera Company's Third Gilbert & Sullivan Sing-Out [Interspersed - comments from mlc] Overwhelming! The entire experience was the equivalent of almost an entire normal lifetime of G&S experience concentrated into an intensive three-day period. As someone who leads a relatively quiet, uneventful life, this was almost too much happiness. Hanging out with old pals; meeting new ones; reveling in lively, enthusiastic performances. It's quite remarkable that performers who had never rehearsed with each other, but were all steeped in a common love for the same oeuvre, could come together and just wing it, and produce exciting, electric performances. The hours flew by so quickly, and unfortunately a lot of it blurred together so that it's hard to isolate all of the wonderful individual performances. But the high caliber of singers throughout must be noted. This was the cream of the crop - the real hardcore G&S types - people who couldn't imagine a more fun way to spend Labor Day weekend than to travel in some cases hundreds of miles, to gather with dozens of other similarly strange types, to spend the better part of three days singing choruses in public.
Kudos to the rotating group of conductors and accompanists (most of whom could also be found singing while not on duty). Some of the high points (of which there were very, very many!):
Jefferson Osborn, as JW Wells, managed to sing his patter song while doing all manner of magic tricks and sleight-of-hand. A truly versatile performer, he had recently been a touching Dr. Daly in the Ridgewood [NJ] G&S production, where he accompanied himself on a recorder while singing his second act "so-and-so" song. [NEGASS stars included Tyler and Rebecca Consentino Hains as Dr Daly and Aline – capital both! – mlc]
It was a delight to once more witness [NEGASSer] Marion Leeds Carroll as a radiant Princess Ida, inexplicably rejecting the noble Hilarion of Peter Emery. [Thank’ye! – it was a special delight to work with CT G&S conductor John Dreslin – a serious talent – and to share the stage with NEGASSer Linda Nadeau, our excellent Blanche, and former NEGASSer Todd Allen Long, our fine Florian.]
[The PINAFORE was full of fine performances, but We can’t pass by without commenting on the soaring Josephine of Lisa Freese]
The Washington Savoyards fielded most of the cast of their recent GONDOLIERS and they were well-steeped in their roles. The Plaza-Toro party was particularly amusing, entering wearing sunglasses, and toting luggage, which they handed one by one, to the hapless Luis. Later Casilda was busy chatting on a cell phone during some of the less-interesting (to her, that is) goings-on. Rob Ritter, as Luis, enacted the first of his three delightful portrayals of the Sing-Out (Strephon and Grosvenor would follow), introducing an alert, enthusiastic persona, combined with a warm, light baritone voice. A talent to watch out for in future. [Having had about 6 hrs of sleep the night before, We slept most of the way through this one – but what We heard from the next room sounded truly fine, and very well-received.]
THE GRAND DUKE featured a strong cast, nimbly keeping up with the amazingly brisk baton of Larry Garvin. Familiar faces included Sam Silvers as Ludwig, Philip Sternenberg as a particularly pained Rudolph, and Dan Kravetz as the Notary, Dr. Tannhauser. [And NEGASSer David Jedlinsky, wearing his tenor hat instead of directing this time, to show the world how an Ernest ought to be played!] New (to me) were the sweet Lisa of Vicki Willoughby, stalwart Herald of Ed Neally (who was also a sterling Captain in PINAFORE - another baritone find!) and the very original Julia Jellicoe of Elise Curran, who played her as a somewhat demented Southern belle. Elise [a VLOC committee member] was an ever-present presence throughout the weekend, furtively scurrying across the stage, darting in and out, hither and thither, barefoot (!!!), camera in hand, in search of revealing shots to document this strange event.
THE MIKADO cast was not full of bored, been-there, done-that, jaded singers. This was a group that was relishing this show as if it had never been done before. Elizabeth and Peter Emery have their Young Lovers stuff down cold, and sang as sweetly and enthusiastically as if discovering Love for the first time. [NEGASSers Todd Allen Long and Linda Nadeau were together again, as a Pish-Tush worth watching, and a Katisha to risk boiling in oil for.]
[RUDDIGORE featured NEGASSer Dave Jedlinsky in his second tenor role – Richard – against Todd Long’s Robin – another great show over-all!]
IOLANTHE had a particularly strong father/son conflict with the Lord Chancellor of Michael Galizia and Strephon of Rob Ritter really getting in each other's faces, literally nose-to-nose. The intensity of their rivalry was palpable.
In PIRATES, Christine Osborn's Ruth was a true delight. She had all sorts of business that created a fully-rounded character - during her song "When Frederic was a little lad" she continually wiped Frederic's face with a hanky (after spitting on it!), fussing all over him, combing his hair, etc. I couldn't help chuckling at her whimsical portrayal. [As a soprano, We have to praise the crystal-clear Mabel of VLOC Committee member Denise Young. NEGASSer Tyler Hains showed off a fine baritone as the Pirate King – and John Dreslin, who had been at the piano for several shows, picked up his baton again, to great welcome.]
[Frances left out PATIENCE - in which she sang Angela – another delightful-all-around show!]
UTOPIA LIMITED featured real-life sisters Deborah and Mandy Jacobson as twins Nekaya and Kalyba, brimming with winsome girlishness. As their older sister, [NEGASSer] Rebecca Consentino Hains followed up her enchanting Aline with another sweet voiced performance. The men were the usual suspects of talented veterans (I'm sick of mentioning their names over and over...). [But We’re not! – at least, Dave Jedlinsky, wearing his baritone hat as Goldbury, and Sam Silvers, reprising his Buxton role as Tarara, can’t be passed over!]
[No NEGASSers in YEOMEN - but it was another candy-box full of delicious performances – what a splendid end to a splendid weekend!]
Spreading the shows out over three days made for a much less exhausting affair than the previous one-day marathon. It seemed almost decadent to have one-hour lunch and two-hour dinner breaks. A truly amazing operation to organize and actually pull off without casualties! Congratulations to the Pretty Committee. So when are you going to do it again, huh?
[It was also good to see NEGASSers Arthur and Jean Koykka, Ezra and Randi Kestin Peisach, and others singing along in choruses. Arthur has just sent Us his SingOut review, which We’ll print next month.– mlc]
For more on the SingOut, including photos, visit http://www.savoynet.org/forums/, a new discussion board created by NEGASSers Tyler and Rebecca Consentino Hains. (You can log on with the username “guest” and the password “guest” if you don’t want to be permanently involved with the site.)
A new and original plan: Frances tells Us further: “David Craven is soliciting interest for an "ObsQWERTY" gathering in Chicago to do lesser known works with ROSE OF PERSIA, MOUNTEBANKS, etc. THAT would be something!"
10th INTERNATIONAL G&S FESTIVAL AT BUXTON: SavoyNetters Triumph at the Tenth International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. This year at the International G&S Festival, members of the Internet discussion group SavoyNet were again in attendance and onstage. In fact, their production of Utopia Limited took 2nd Place overall at the Festival.
The Festival is held in Buxton, England in August each year, and it is the ultimate treat for the Gilbert & Sullivan fan. The Festival includes over three weeks of nightly G&S operas and daytime fringe activities, but you need not attend for the whole Festival. Buxton, located about an hour Southeast of Manchester, is an ideal setting for a summer festival: an intimate, yet bustling spa town, famous for the Buxton mineral spring and baths.
At the core of the Festival is a competition of amateur G&S performing societies. Each year, G&S performing groups travel to Buxton from all over the world to compete. 15 amateur productions are presented and judged in the Buxton Opera House, a charming 900 seat house with excellent acoustics. Tickets for the amateur productions are about $20 each.
In addition, there are weekend professional performances given by the Carl Rosa Opera Company, Opera della Luna and the G&S Opera Company, starring such well-know performers as Richard Suart, Gillian Knight and Eric Roberts. There are also numerous daytime "fringe" activities, performances, master classes and lectures by members of the original D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and other professionals, and a late night Festival Club, where one can relax and enjoy two different cabaret performances each evening after the opera. There is also a G&S memorabilia fair, providing a chance for G&S enthusiasts to buy and sell books, scores, figurines and other collectors' items.
Around the exhausting, concentrated rehearsal schedule and performances, participants at the Festival relax by watching their competitors' productions at the Opera House and by touring the lovely "Peak District" around Buxton, seeing, among other sights, Peak-Haunting Peveril's ruin of a castle. The Tenth Festival was a delight: seeing old and new G&S friends, watching the performances of the wonderful professionals and amateurs, and performing in a fun-filled production in a beautiful opera house before a large and enthusiastic audience with an excellent orchestra.
SavoyNet at the Festival: "SavoyNet" is the Internet newsgroup made up of people from all over the world who correspond with each other about all topics related to G&S. SavoyNet has presented a new production every year in Buxton since 1997. We audition the show in advance by videotape and the cast is decided in the spring. Then we meet in Buxton a week before the show to rehearse.
Our production of UTOPIA was extremely successful this year, capturing 2nd Place overall and also garnering 2 awards: The Flowers of Progress, for Best Concerted Number, and Rich Miller, for Best Male Voice - and 5 additional nominations: Ron Orenstein, for Best Character Actor; Angela Lowe, for Best Character Actress; Sam Silvers, for Best Supporting Actor; Larry Garvin, for Best Musical Director; and David Duffey, for Best Director.
SO WHERE’S D’OYLY CARTE? The Trustees of the Friends of the D’Oyly Carte write: “The Trustees of the D’Oyly Carte Company have informed us that they have decided to postpone planned productions due to the current poor economic climate of the West End theatre and the likely unavailability of their preferred theatre venue.” Sounds like festivals are the way to go! - mlc
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.
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.)
Visit http://leedscarroll.com/GSEnsembles.html for a list of G&S ensembles suitable for excerpt programs.
Visit http://negass.org/Pages/Ads.html for a NEGASS business card image.
Send electronic contributions to our e-mail address:pooh-bah at negass dot org
contact current webmaster mlc for more information