World of G & S

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Discover the world of Gilbert & Sullivan

James Braxton, Tom Conti, Melvyn Tarran Gilbert and Sullivan are an historic partnership very much part of Great Britain's heritage. As much loved and revered as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw etc. Both were knighted for their contribution to the arts, they were the most successful partnership in the history of British theatre.

The comic operas they wrote between 1871-1896 made their names household words 'As much an institution as Westminster Abbey' said Gilbert! They had established an unique style of light opera that's had a huge influence on the future of British theatre which continues to enchant audiences throughout the world. Gilbert and Sullivan were equally as successful in America.

Queen Victoria was particularly interested in Sir Arthur Sullivan’s music, and suggested that he should compose a grand opera. The result was the romantic opera 'Ivanhoe'. However, when it came to a Royal Command Performance at Windsor Castle, she chose 'The Gondoliers'.
The Queen also enjoyed a Royal Command Performance of The Mikado at Balmoral Castle. Both performances took place in 1891.

For 27 years our Chairman Melvyn Tarran curated 'The World of Gilbert and Sullivan', which was a collection of personal mementos, letters, music manuscripts and historical documents, housed at Sheffield Park in East Sussex. The collection featured in an episode of the BBC's "Antiques Road Trip" programme in August 2011, in which Melvyn introduced the collection to celebrity Tom Conti and antiques expert James Braxton.

Also on display were original costumes from the D'Oyly Carte Company. Hats, fans, clocks, posters, theatrical props, toy theatres, figurines, portraits, souvenirs and a rather special Broadwood Grand Piano used by Sir Arthur Sullivan and many more items all connected with the Operas and those who helped to make them so special.

Changes at Oak Hall, Sheffield Park and The World of Gilbert and Sullivan

Melvyn Tarran writes:
Oak Hall at Sheffield Park has now been sold to the National Trust. I was at Oak Hall for 27 years.

James Braxton, Tom Conti, Melvyn Tarran For the time being, the remainder of the artefacts and costumes will be stored, until a new home can be found, however I shall still be on the hunt to add to the collection. Should anyone know of an historical house or museum that is open to the public and might like a colourful display of D'Oyly Carte costumes and artefacts, please contact me at :
curator@gilbertandsullivantoday.org.uk

I hope to write with more news in future issues of 'Gilbert & Sullivan News'.
May I extend my thanks to everyone for their loyal support over the years,

With Best Regards,
Melvyn.




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