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Written by
JAMES ALBERY 1
Composed by
ALFRED CELLIER

Opened 9th February 1878, Opera Comique, as a companion piece to The Sorcerer. Ran until 23rd March 1878. Performed again 28th May 1878 to 3rd August 1878 as a companion piece to H.M.S. Pinafore.

Vocal score published by Metzler, copy in British Library at F.739. The vocal score contains a synopsis of the plot, but no dialogue. License copy of the libretto in Lord Chamberlain's collection Add. MS. 53199, Play no. H, Jan-Feb 1878.

Cast

THE GRAND DUKE Frederic Clifton
THE LORD CHAMBERLAIN Rutland Barrington
FIRST LADY-IN-WAITING Harriet Everard
SECOND LADY-IN-WAITING Miss Muncey 2
LADY VIOLA Giulia Warwick
THE SPECTRE KNIGHT Richard Temple

During the run of The Sorcerer, Barrington was replaced by F. Talbot, Muncey by Miss Hervey (possibly Rose Hervey) and Warwick by Laura Clement. When revived with Pinafore, the cast was Clifton, Talbot, Everard, Muncey, Clement and Temple. During the run, Muncey was replaced again by Hervey and Clement by Alice Burville.

Synopsis

The banished Grand Duke, with his daughter Viola and the remains of his court, live in a lonely glen where they try to keep up the semblance of former grandeur. Viola has known no other life, never seen another human being except those of their party, and is thus greatly delighted when the Duke's nephew Otho arrives on the scene disguised as a friar. Otho falls in love with his cousin at first sight, and having learned from her of the legend of the spectre knight who is supposed to haunt the glen, appears in the disguise of the ghost. He wins Viola's heart and finally introduces himself to her as Otho who has just overthrown the usurper of her father's throne. He promises that they can all go home again. The Duke consents to Otho's union with Viola, and all ends happily.

[1] James Albery was an important playwright of the period, considered by Allardyce Nicoll to be second only to Gilbert. Albery's plays are collected in a two-volume edition, to be found in the British Library at 2303 f. 14; but The Spectre Knight seems to have been his only libretto for a musical piece.

[2] Occasionally given as "Lisa Muncey." Probably Isabelle or Isabella Muncey, who played Hebe in the "rival" production of H.M.S. Pinafore for the Comedy-Opera Company, and later toured in the contralto roles for D'Oyly Carte.

  • Libretto transcribed by Christopher O'Brien from a printed copy in the D'Oyly Carte Collection at the Theatre Museum in London. [PDF, 124KB]


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