Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
Web Opera

A Greek Slave

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts

Libretto by Owen Hall
Lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross

Music by Sidney Jones

Additional numbers by Lionel Monckton
Produced by George Edwardes at Daly's Theatre, London
June 8th, 1898
For a run of 349 performances
Closing June 2nd, 1899.

Sidney Jones
Sidney Jones, Composer
George Edwardes
George Edwardes, The Guv'nor

Dramatis Personæ.

Maia (Daughter of Heliodorus) Miss Marie Tempest
Antonia (A relative of Cæsar) Miss Hilda Moody
(Slaves) Miss Gladys Homfrey
Miss Magie May
Miss Elisabeth Kirby
(Patricians) Miss Elise Cook
Miss Olive Morrell
Miss Margaret Ruby
Miss Alice Davis
Nysa Miss F. Jamieson
Iris (A Greek Slave,
Confidential Maid of Antonia
Miss Letty Lind
Diomed (A Greek Slave
in Heliodorus' household
Mr. C. Hayden Coffin
Heliodorus (A Persian Soothsayer) Mr. Huntley Wright
Archias (A Greek Slave, Sculptor
in Heliodorus' household
Mr. Scott Russell
(Patricians) Mr. Charles Magrath
Mr. Frank Boor
Mr. Donald Hall
Mr. Akerman May
Marcus Pomponius (Prefect of Rome) Mr. Rutland Barrington

Act I — Villa of Heliodorus, on the Heights of Rome
Act II — Antonia's Villa at Baiae
Period — About A.D. 90
Rutland Barrington C. Hayden Coffin
Rutland Barrington C. Hayden Coffin
Letty Lind Hilda Moody
Letty Lind Hilda Moody
Scott Russell Huntley Wright
Scott Russell Huntley Wright

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.

Copyright notes

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


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.

Act I
No. 1. Opening Chorus On the Dial
Chorus of Slaves
No. 2. Song The Wizard
Heliodorus and Chorus of Slaves
No. 3. Quartette and Chorus By Bacchus!
Silius, Lollius, Curius, Manlius, Chorus of Slaves
No. 4. Song (plus Dance) Confidential
Iris with Curius, Silius, Lollius, Manlius and Chorus of Slaves
No. 5. Song Freedom Words by Henry Hamilton
No. 6. Oracle Scene and Quartette
Maia, Roman Ladies Licinia, Flavia, Tullia, Cornellia and Chorus of Slaves
No. 7. Song The Lost Pleiad
Maia with Heliodorus and Marcus Pomponius
No. 8. Duet All Is Fair
Maia and Diomed
No. 9. Song I Cannot Love
No. 10. Song (plus Dance) I Should Rather Like To Try, Music by Lionel Monckton
No. 11. Trio Whirligig
Marcus Pomponius, Iris, Heliodorus
No. 12. Processional March and Chorus of Welcome
Chorus of Slaves
No. 13. Solo and Scene plus Ensemble Invocation
Maia, Antonia, Diomed, Chorus of Slaves
No. 14. Finale Bear The God Of Love Along
Maia, Heliodorus, Chorus of Slaves

Act II
No. 15. Opening Chorus Here at Baiae On The Bay
No. 16. Song A Song of Love
No. 17. Duet Oh, What Will Be The End Of It?, Music by Lionel Monckton
Iris and Heliodorus
No. 18. Song The Golden Isle
No. 19. Concerted Number Topsy-Turvy
Lucinia, Flavia, Manlius, Archias and Others
No. 20. Chorus of Saturnalia
Chorus of Slaves
No. 21. Song The Revels
Archias and Chorus of Slaves
No. 22. Song The Girl Of My Heart
Diomed and Chorus
No. 23. Song I Want To Be Popular, Music by Lionel Monckton
Marcus and Chorus
No. 24. Song (plus Dance) I'm A Naughty Girl, Music by Lionel Monckton
Iris and Chorus
No. 25. Song and Chorus A Frog He Lived In A Pond
Iris and Chorus
No. 26. Song (plus Dance) Nothing But Nerves
No. 27. Solo and Scene plus Ensemble Forgive
Maia, Diomed and Chorus
No. 28. Finale Act II Hail Antonia, Hail!


Send your comments on this Web Opera, or any other aspect of the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, to Paul Howarth.

Updated 2 Feb 2009