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Curtain Raisers

First published October 1990. Revised edition May 1996.

This pamphlet is available as a PDF file. [ 252KB]


Very little information is available on the non Gilbert and Sullivan curtain raisers and other companion pieces used at the Savoy and by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company on tour in their early years. Rollins and Witts give a brief list at the back of their compilation, and there are passing references to some of the pieces by Adair-Fitzgerald and others. This pamphlet is intended to give some more data which may be of use and interest to the G&S fraternity. It is not intended to be the last word on the subject, but rather the first, and it is hoped that it will provoke further investigation. Perhaps it may inspire others to make exhaustive searches in libraries for the missing scores and libretti.

Cyril Rollins & R. John Witts: 1962. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas.
Cyril Rollins & R. John Witts: 1971. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. Second Supplement. Privately printed. p. 19.
J.P. Wearing: 1976. The London Stage, 1890-1899. 2 vols.
J.P. Wearing: 1981. The London Stage, 1900-1909. 2 vols.
Allardyce Nicoll: 1959. A History of English Drama 1660-1900, vol. 5. Late Nineteenth Century Drama 1850-1900.
Kurt Ganzl: 1986. The British Musical Theatre. 2 vols.
S.J. Adair-Fitzgerald: 1924. The Story of the Savoy Opera.
Selwyn Tillett: 1987, in "Ruddigore: A Booklet to Commemorate the Centenary of the First Performance."
Cyril Rollins (pers. comm.)
Scores, programmes & libretti in the British Library, in the compilers' collections and in the possession of Victor Golding and Ian Bond.
License copies of libretti in the Lord Chamberlain's collection, now housed in the British Library, to the staff of which we extend grateful thanks.
The Theatre Museum, London.

According to F.W. Wilson, the Pierpont Morgan Library has no copies of printed libretti, scores or band parts of any of these pieces.


Title Words Music Date
Dora's Dream Arthur Cecil Alfred Cellier 1873
The Spectre Knight James Albery Alfred Cellier 1878
Two Flats and a Sharp C. Alfred Maltby after Offenbach(?) 1873
Breaking the Spell H. B. Farnie   1870
Beauties on the Beach George Grossmith George Grossmith 1878
Cups and Saucers George Grossmith George Grossmith 1876
Congenial Souls J. H. Ryley after Offenbach(?) 1878
After All Frank Desprez Alfred Cellier 1878
Number One Round the Corner William Brough   1854
In the Sulks Frank Desprez Alfred Cellier 1880
Four by Honours Ralph Horner (?)   1880
Six and Six B. T. Huges P. W. Halton 1880
Uncle Samuel Arthur Law George Grossmith 1881
Quite an Adventure Frank Desprez Edward Solomon 1880
Mock Turtles Frank Desprez Joseph E. Fanning 1881
A Privare Wire Desprez & Felix Percy Reeve 1883
Just My Luck A. Maltby   1877
A Silent Woman Thomas Hailes Lacy   1835
Round and Square Frank Desprez Edward Solomon 1885
The Carp Frank Desprez Alfred Cellier 1886
Mrs. Jarramie's Genie Frank Desprez A. & F. Cellier 1888
Captain Billy Harry Greenbank François Cellier 1891
Mr. Jericho Harry Greenbank Ernest Ford 1893
Weather or No Ross & Beach Bertram L. Selby 1896
Old Sarah Harry Greenbank François Cellier 1897
Pretty Polly Basil Hood François Cellier 1900
The Outpost A. O'D. Bartholeyns Hamilton Clarke 1900
The Willow Pattern Basil Hood Cecil Cook 1901
Ib and Little Christiana Basil Hood Franco Leoni 1901
Bob Cunningham Bridgeman François Cellier 1903
A Welsh Sunset Frederic Fenn Philip M. Faraday 1909

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