A Greek Slave Web Opera
by Marc Kenig, 2001
Welcome to my Web Opera containing all of the music and dialogue for this early musical comedy. This is a great way to become familiar with this very popular early musical!
About The Music...
The Midi files contained in this web opera were sequenced between February and September 2001, from a standard Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew "plain brown paper cover" score of circa 1920, with yours truly correcting some obvious errors, and making some other educated guesses where necessary.
Most numbers are sequenced for piano only, with special consideration given to have the soloist/choral lines stand out. Some numbers, where appropriate, have solo instruments taking the vocalist line, e.g. a flute in Antonia's plaintive aria I Cannot Love.
According to all sources I have checked Sidney Jones' orchestrations for A Greek Slave have, sadly, been lost to posterity. Also, I have only typescript libretti on which to base the text of the web pages. I've done my best to typeset the lyrics based on the libretto and also the capitalization and line breaks in lyrics in the score. In some cases, I've purposely gone beyond standard libretto typesetting for repeats and, especially, sections where the chorus or soloists split into many parts to aid the listener who is not familiar with the show pick out the parts.<NOTE>I have taken some great pains to sequence this work.
Please listen to them with a good FM sound card or by obtaining a Midi player with a good sampled sound base and listen with good speakers or headphones. The results with the standard PC operating system players are barely acceptible, and your enjoyment will be enhanced by better Midi sound equipment.
Many of the pieces contain lyrics on MIDI karaoke tracks.
About The Libretto and Lyrics...
As was the practice of the time, the vocal score does not contain the libretto. The libretto presented is from my only source - the copy in the New York Public Library Performing Arts Division of the draft of the book from Mrs. Marshall's Type Writing Office dated 25 April 1898. Since the NYPL working copy pre-dates the opening and contains has many handwritten changes it obviously is a version of a work-in-progress. As an editorial policy for this web opera of A Greek Slave, the published vocal score is given precedence in the case of all discrepancies in lyrics, musical numbers and their ordering, and characters. For example, in draft libretto the important lead character Maia was still known as Lydia, Heliodorus had a completely different song at numbers 2 and 26 and the ordering of Numbers 8 and 10 are switched, and there are 3 extra numbers in the second act. In this presentation, Heliodorus' daughter is Maia as it was at the time of the premier, his patter song is at number 2 as it is in the published score and I've taken the liberty to switch the numbers and their dialog from the positions in the NYPL libretto to match the published score. The lyrics by Greenbank and Ross are particularly literate and fun, chock full of classical references.
The libretto is A Greek Slave's weakest link. As a librettist, Owen Hall (real name James Davis) was no Sir William S. Gilbert. This however, is perhaps the most literate libretto of his that I've read, and it is refreshingly absent any jingoistic references. As it was the nature of these works to be "frothier" and "snappier" than operetta and that may be some stylistic apology for the weakness of the plot. In my opinion it does not match Jones' tremendous musical score and might explain the relative lack of staying power of the piece.
The NYPL libretto ends abruptly, there is no transition dialog to the finale, though that was probably written sometime after 25 April and the opening. If anyone has this bit of dialog, or any other corrections, please contact me.
I stand behind the copyright laws of the United States of America, which clearly state that this work is in the public domain, as it was presented and published prior to the cut-off date and never extended. Depending where you live, it might not be out of copyright, since many of the creators, especially Sidney Jones, were long-lived. I see no harm in you reading it, but be careful if you copy the files and use them for any other purpose.
For any and all permission to reproduce the Midi files contained herein, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
I dedicate this web opera to the girl of my heart, Stacey Whitaker. A more supportive soulmate there never was doing a lot of quiet reading while I glued myself to the computer these many months!
— Marc Kenig, 2001
You can listen to the Web Opera and read the opera on-line by following the links below, or you can download the midi files and the libretto in a zip file for off-line listening.
MIDI Karaoke Version
We also have included MIDI Karaoke versions of most of the songs of this opera. The MIDI Karaoke files highlight the lyrics on the screen while you are listening to the music. In order to play the Karaoke music files you must have a MIDI Karaoke player on your PC see the vanBasco page for information on downloading a free player.
Updated 2 Feb 2009