Gilbert and Sullivan Archive


The Plot

2.1. The mix-up

Lisa Haferkamp wrote: I think that mixing those two up was all a PLOT! Thus: Buttercup is in love with the Captain, and she'd like to think he loves her. She has virtually no chance of marrying him, due to difference in station. For these reasons, she formulates the story: "I switched Captain Corcoran and some other fellow while they were babies." Now all she needs is someone to be the other baby. She sees Ralph and thinks "Hey, he looks like a good candidate to fill in my story." She also finds out that Ralph love Josephine, so he will benefit from the switch and therefore not bring up the point of ages, etc. So Buttercup carries out her plan and no one objects to it because: Sir Joseph: He's too dim witted to realise the impossibility. Hebe: I think she's been out to win Sir J's hand since the beginning of the opera, so she can marry Sir J now that Josephine is out of the way. Sisters, Cousins, Aunts: They're all helping Hebe win Sir J, so everything's fine with them. Captain Corcoran: He gets to marry Buttercup, right? Josephine: The plot helps her, too. Ralph: He's eligible for Josephine's hand now. Dick Deadeye: The Bo'sun was in league with Buttercup and made Dick swear by the dull slate of yonder skies not to raise any objection, on pain of death. (That's why he carries that pistol . . . ) Other Sailors: They're on Ralph's side, so everything's fine with them.

Philip Sternenberg: That's how I've always rationalized it, and you gave all of my own arguments perfectly. Unfortunately, there's still that awkward moment early on when Buttercup sings, "Remorse! Remorse!" on hearing Ralph's name. I try to reconcile this by saying this refers to his (apparently) doomed romantic desires, but I don't completely convince myself.

I see two possibilities, and each has good arguments:

1. The truth is exactly as Gilbert presented it. It makes no sense at all but that's the whole point! Gilbert satirized contrived denouements by outdoing any in works that are supposed to be taken seriously. How can Ralph and Corcoran come back in each other's uniforms when they have no way of knowing what was happening on deck? It's illogical; therefore, it's funny.

2. The truth is exactly as Lisa presented it. The humor lies not so much in the absurdity of Buttercup's story as in the fact that EVERYONE UNQUESTIONINGLY ACCEPTS IT!! Lisa gave most of the reasons why, but I'll sum up and revise a bit: It's human nature, I feel, to want things to work out well. The characters are all presented with a solution, however absurd it may be, that offers something for everyone. Therefore, it's to their advantage to go along with it. It might be because they mindlessly believe what they want to believe; or it might be because they know Buttercup's lying, but the word for their guidance is "mum."

Perhaps the best answer is whatever combination of both of these possibilities makes one feel comfortable.

Arthur Robinson replied: I think possibility 2 is the case. Gilbert had written a Bab Ballad in which a lowly private tells his haughty and aristocratic commanding officer (I'm quoting from memory, but I think this is close):

"A glimmering thought occurs to me--
Its source I can't unearth--
But I've a sort of notion we
Were cruelly changed at birth."
The private offers no evidence for this, but his commanding officer decides that if he thinks so, he must be right, and they switch ranks.

Ian Stocdale replied: I find possibility 1 the most convincing approach. I suppose that, given my reaction of "why, that's absurd" to the ending, it seems reasonable that I am supposed to have that reaction. It then isn't a problem that the previous plot development does not fully support the plot resolution. (The argument is admittedly circular, but feels less contrived to me than the approaches that aim to make the plot make sense.) I have seen it written someplace that Gilbert, at least in part, intended Pinafore as an over-the-top parody of contemporary plays, may of which were implausibly (ab)using the exchanged at birth device. I don't know enough about theatre in that period to judge whether this is in fact true, however. And Andrew Crowther: It has to be possibility 1! It drives me wild sometimes to read SavoyNetters earnestly puzzling over oddities in G & S plots. The plots aren't supposed to conform to any realistic standards of probability: they're commentaries on stage behaviour. The operas don't reflect reality - at least, not directly. They mock the stage conventions for not conforming to reality, but in doing so are not themselves realistic. This is not to say they have nothing to do with real issues, of course - they would be incredibly dull if that were the case -but the relationship between opera and reality is oblique and actually rather subtle. The operas should never be viewed as "realistic" dramas (except Yeomen, possibly): they are absurd, and revel in absurdity.

Lisa Haferkamp replies: Buttercup sings, "Remorse! Remorse!" at the point when she sees Ralph and thinks "He'll be a good Baby Number Two in my story." And since the Bo'sun is working with her on this, he probably gave a signal for her to work Ralph in. His motive for that is, of course, to help Ralph attain his impossible matrimonial goal. (He's also the one who had the clergyman ready to unite the two in Act II, among other things.)

2.2. Relative Ages

Barri Soreil wrote: This is a G & S plot that has driven me quite mad for years. The "willing suspension of disbelief" principle always rubs on this one. If, indeed, that careless Buttercup "mixed those children up", they must have been pretty darn close to the same age. One does not mix up a 12 year old with a 1 year old! Arthur Robinson interjected: One does mix in a Gilbert play. In The Sensation Novel, and in The Gentleman in Black Gilbert is clearly spoofing a stage convention, and he may be doing the same in Pinafore. Barri Soreil continued: This means that Captain Corcoran and Ralph are the same age! If this is correct, then Josephine is in love not with a young and handsome seaman (as Ralph is always portrayed) but a man the age of her father. The productions I've seen have always cast Captain Corcoran as a man at least in his 40's. Ian Bond replied: In Victorian times it was not unusual for a young lady to fall in love with and marry a many old enough to be her father. Assuming Josephine is 18, Ralph need only be 36 or 37, and there are a good many handsome men in their late thirties and early forties, who do not look their age. Maybe to a Victorian audience, this 'inconsistency' was entirely logical.

2.2.1 The Updating Quarrel

[This subject prompted a long and spirited debate between David Craven and Bruce Miller. What follows is a heavily edited version which I hope is true to the spirit of their exchange even if some of the more spirited parts have been excised.]

David Craven: This may just be me, but I am strongly convinced that Gilbert INTENDED there to be a significant disparity in ages between Josephine and Ralph. There is nothing that I have found in the Libretto which suggests that Ralph needs to be young. I believe that it adds another dimension to the character, that Gilbert realized this, and that Gilbert could have made a different child shift if he really wanted young lovers. (Add in a character called Stanley.. Ralph's father, also a sailor on the Pinafore. Stanley and Capt. C. were the ones switched at birth..... Suddenly, Stanley is the Captain, Ralph is the son of a Captain, Josephine. is the daughter of a common sailor.... works just as well as the original plot...) Bruce miller: There is at least one reference - Act I, Little Buttercup: "But tell me, who's the YOUTH whose faltering feet With difficulty bear him on his course?"

David Craven: Ah yes, but remember she is even older. To her, he is a youth, even at 40. Remember Ralph and the Captain don't have to be ancient, just old enough to have a child of 16. Probably at least 35 but not older than 40-45. Remember, the "mighty" Pinafore is just a Frigate. It would, therefore, be on of the first commands that one would assume upon reaching the rank of Post Captain. Anything smaller would be Captained by a Lieut. or a Commander, not a Captain. Bruce Miller replied to this: Of course, how stupid of me not to realize that Buttercup must have meant this. And everyone on stage, who hears her utter this, simply goes along with her. Of course, all of the contemporary advertising visuals artists must have made the same error, as did Gilbert and countless other directors in casting Ralph as a youth.

David Craven: Of course the chorus goes along. It is not polite to disagree with ones elders. What was the chorus supposed to shout... "no Buttercup, you are a silly old biddy, he is 43." It IS highly reasonable that Ralph is somewhere between 35 and 40, and it is NOT unreasonable that someone that age could be called a "youth". As for the contemporary advertising - looking at the Bab Ballads, I see a bewhiskered Ralph who does NOT look appreciably younger than the Captain. The Opera Comique Poster reprinted in First Night G & S also shows a rather youthful Captain stopping the lovers from leaving, and the Ralph, in contrast to many other members of the crew, is NOT clean shaven, suggesting that Ralph IS older than others in the crew. As for Gilbert, I see no evidence that he did anything to emphasize the youth of the character. In fact, the omission of his age in the libretto is telling. If he is indeed a callow youth, how he has risen to the place of such high respect in the mind of the crew? This in fact suggests a very good, very competent, very experienced sailor. I cannot see how a 19 or 20 year old can have been switched at birth with someone who has a 15 or 16 year old daughter. In short, an older Ralph does not hurt a SINGLE aspect of the plot AND eliminates the normally ludicrousness of the Captain/Ralph switch AND also explains how he has gotten the respect of the crew. Bruce Miller replied: The only reference to Ralph's age in the libretto makes him a youth. I am therefore content to let this series of posts stand on their merits and allow others to form their own conclusions.

2.2.2 Brief Interlude

[A brief interlude followed with some pertinent comments from the sidelines]

Andrew Crowther noted: Isn't the fact that this interpretation eliminates the ludicrousness a good argument against it? Ralph McPhail also noted: Interesting that WSG also uses the descriptor "youth" to describe Pooh-Bah, isn't it? And David Lyle: I think Ralph is meant to be a young man- remember Mrs. Buttercup's question of the sailors immediately after her song; "But tell me-who's the youth ,who's faltering feet...", to which the reply is; "That is the smartest lad in all the fleet...". Surely part of the topsy-turveydom is exactly the fact that there is so much disparity in the ages of the Captain and Ralph (and that each man's uniform exactly fits the other!). J Donald Smith wrote: Let me drop a bombshell into this discussion: The real problem isn't Ralph's age ("Who's the youth..."), it's Corcoran's. (That daughter!) I propose that "the insertion of a single word will do it": STEP-daughter. We know that Corcoran likes older women. Why shouldn't a young, ambitious Ensign (or even Lieutenant) Corcoran have married an older woman with a daughter almost his age (or a few years younger), with his rich aristocratic new wife then buying him his commission. From Corcoran's previous background, he would assume that for his 'daughter' (and someone in that position would never refer to a step-daughter as such) to marry a Cabinet Minister would be the height of his ambitions. "There you are, out of your difficulty at once."

2.2.3 Geoff Dixon & Andrew Crowther join the Debate

[Interlude over - that bombshell! Remorse! Remorse!]

David Craven wrote: Yes, the real issue may well be the age of the Captain. In most modern traditional productions he is pictured as being a graying person of at least 50. In such cases, I would certainly agree that an equally aged Ralph would not work. Yet where is there the evidence that Captain C. is, in fact, in his late middle ages (50+)? Perhaps the Captain is played too old too frequently. In the early posters and drawings Captain C is generally pictured as being rather young. In fact, in one, he appears to be a near twin of Ralph. This suggests to me that the early D'oyly Carte (well really Opera Comique) productions did have Ralph and the Captain the same age, but did so by making the Captain as young as feasible. Geoff Dixon replied: All the photographs I have ever seen show Corcoran as an older Man.

David Craven responded: My evidence is from the book entitled the Pictorial History of the D'Oyly Carte Company (From the early material). I would also cite to the drawings presented in Richard Allen's First Night Gilbert and Sullivan. As for the photographs, they convey, for the most part the age of the actor, not the age of the character. The ability to convey a particular age is dependent on a number of items beyond mere appearance. Bruce Miller replied to this: Correct. As do the drawings. Many of he contemporary cartoons you mention in Reginald Allen's book are drawings by Gilbert of the original cast; in one or two instances they are by commercial illustrators hired by the opera company for publicity purposes. The Captain is easily recognizable as Barrington, Ralph as Power, Buttercup as Everard, etc. Barrington was young at the time; however, for him to have a daughter of marrying age as acceptable in British society, he must have portrayed a Captain well into his 30's. If the Captain were younger, there would have been some very obvious nasty questions raised about how he could have a marriageable daughter. Ralph does not appear to me to be older than his early 20's; certainly not 35. And Geoff Dixon: It is surely not possible to draw any valid conclusions from these rather blurred and indistinct line drawings - far less build a case. The photographs available include a rather portly Barrington as Corcoran and the young Lytton (in 1899 as Corcoran) obviously made up to look middle-aged. In any case, why swim against the tide? Every Corcoran I have ever seen (since Leslie Rands) has always looked a plausible father to Josephine. Why fight it?

To which Andrew Crowther: Of course it can be done David's way, and when you come down to it there's no insuperable textual reason why not. I suggested before that to have the Captain and Ralph the same age would be to destroy the absurdity, obviously a bad thing in G & S, but I don't know. Is this oddity in the plot really enjoyed by the audience as an absurdity, or is it perhaps not noticed or simply found confusing? I've seen a copy of David's big piece of evidence, the original Pinafore poster, and he's right, you know - Ralph does look a bit older than a callow youth. Whether this was deliberate on Gilbert's part to make sense of the ending, or simply a matter of who they could get to play the tenor, I can't say. My main argument against David's view would be this: Gilbert's endings almost always feel tacked-on, and it's very possible to argue that this was deliberate. Inconsistencies abound in Gilbert's plots, and most of these are almost certainly not deliberate: their only justification is that they will not be noticed by most people. I believe that the Ralph/Captain age issue is one such plot flaw. I suspect (though I can't prove) that if Gilbert had wanted to make Ralph older than he is usually played, he'd have signalled it in the text. As it is, he's called a "youth", though as David pointed out this isn't conclusive. For David's theory: the poster, lack of conclusive textual evidence against it, plot consistency. Against David's theory: tradition, lack of conclusive textual evidence for it, convention of the Gilbertian absurd ending, Gilbert's other inconsistencies of plot, Ralph called "youth". On balance, I think David's wrong, in the sense that I don't believe it was in Gilbert's mind to make Ralph and the Captain the same age. But I can't think of a really conclusive reason to say why it shouldn't be done David's way in production now.

David Craven: So far the only argument that I have seen against the Captain being the same age as Ralph is that "D'oyly Carte" and history did not do it this way, and the original actors were older. To my mind this is merely respecting lacquer for lacquer. After all, the first production of Pinafore was lit by gas, not electric light. Clearly Gilbert crafted the work for gas lights, aren't we going against all original intent and original performance practice by using electric lights ? Of course, such position is ludicrous and no one would advocate it, but citing to the original actors is similarly without merit. Andrew Crowther: Wait a second.... I thought your main evidence for Ralph and the Captain being of an age was the poster for the original production. You may choose to think Little Buttercup's description of Ralph as a "youth" is irrelevant, but surely it is a weight in the scales against your argument, however light you may decide it is in those scales? The most natural interpretation of the Captain is that Josephine is his biological, not adopted or whatever, daughter, and that he must therefore be at least in his mid-thirties, and probably at least forty. And maybe this won't be thought a conclusive argument, but doesn't a baritone voice sound "older" than a tenor? I suggest, therefore, that everything in the actual substance of the opera suggests that Ralph is younger than the Captain - except, of course, the denouement, which in the Gilbertian convention need not be realistically consistent with the rest of the opera anyway. If you're determined to make the two of an age, it can be done without harming the piece too much. But really, David, if citing the original actors is without merit, why did you do it?

David Craven: I am perfectly comfortable in making Ralph and the Captain the same age based upon the Libretto, but I cited the pictures to show that my particular opinion might even have had some support in the original productions., even if it is one that you would never make. That is not unreasonable is it? John J Genzano wrote: To me, the single most important reason the two could not be the same age is Josephine (no one in this discussion has yet mentioned her). Why would a young girl fall in love with a man her father's age, especially when there would be plenty of younger men available/around her? A woman who has had some experience might fall in love with an older man, especially if there were some advantage (social or monetary) to be gained, but a young girl in her teens would more than likely not do so (note that she is repulsed by Sir Joseph, and much of that repulsion is due to his age).

David Craven replied: I respectfully submit that you are simply wrong on this account. There are frequent occurrences of older men and younger women (and occasionally younger men and older women, although less frequently) throughout society. I have known rather ordinarily situated men with neither power nor money who have ended up with wives of a significantly greater gap than the proposed 18-22 year old gap between Ralph and Josephine. As for the revulsion of Sir JP, I don't think that we really know. It certainly does not have to be age. No age is specified for Sir JP, and once again we are falling into the tradition trap. He certainly could be old, but this alone is not sufficient to make him repulsive (and I am sure that the older members of the net will agree that age alone does not make one repulsive) And his rank does not mean that he is necessarily old (although the rise as described in the song does suggest it).

2.3. Social status

2.3.1 Josephine's vision

Douglas Whaley wrote: There are jarring moments in the Savoy operas where Gilbert suddenly gives us a jolt of reality, and Pinafore has a noted instance of this reality-in-the midst-of-comedy that I have always found out of place. This is as light-hearted as any of the shows in the canon, a whimsical piece of fluff, until in Act Two Josephine suddenly contemplates the down side of marrying a lowly sailor, when she sings "The Hours Creep On Apace," with its comparisons between "papa's luxurious home," and "on the other a dark and dingy room, in some back street with stuffy children crying" (etc.). As thrilling as I find this number (and Sullivan certainly set it very well), it has always seemed to me at odds with the rest of the show and dreadfully out of place. Am I alone in thinking this?

Ian Stockdale replied: Probably not, although I have always liked this number as part of Pinafore. I think it can be difficult to pull off dramatically, but it gives the singer and the director a chance to establish Josephine as a real flesh and blood character with serious reasons for hesitating. For me, that helps with making her both likeable and sympathetic. There is not much for Josephine to work with in Act I aside from the love vs. duty/social-standing conflict, which can leave her looking rather shallow. Of course, it is a little hard to see how Sir Joseph's official pronouncement ("love levels all ranks") helps Josephine deal with the fears expressed in the aria. And William S Kelly: Call me twisted, but I find Josephine's "The Hours Creep On Apace" hilarious. I love Josephine, in many ways the most admirable of G's leading ladies, but I chuckle when I see her struggle reduced to a choice between furniture from Gillow's and dinner served up in a pudding basin -- especially, set as it is, to wonderfully overblown and dramatic music worthy of a Verdi heroine choosing the fate of millions.

And Dan Kravetz: There is a sort of comic inspiration in this number. Josephine doesn't know that much about Ralph, although she can tell he's down-to-earth and well-meaning. Her vivid description of what his living circumstances must be seem inspired by her having read sensational literature rather than having seen slums first-hand. I've often instructed performers playing Josephine to avoid too much of a show of disgust in describing a dark and dingy room or dinner in a pudding basin. To someone like her, this is perhaps an intriguing picture, even a titillating one because of its forbidden character. Gilbert may be having a bit of fun at the expense of privileged people who rave about Dickens's novels.

2.3.2 Corcoran's servants

Steve Lichtenstein: Would Josephine, in her social position as Captain Corcoran's daughter, be accustomed to having servants serving up her dinner? In any case, her grasp on reality is but tenuous if she imagines that anyone else but herself will be doing the serving once she's married Ralph! To which David Duffey: Certainly Josephine would be used to servants. A captain RN is very much a member of the upper middle class. Josephine probably has never even dressed or undressed unaided in the whole of her life. She certainly would never have done her own hair, having her own ladies' maid. As the only daughter of the household she probably is used to giving the daily orders to the upper servants - housekeeper, butler and cook. As to who does the serving following marriage to Ralph, I guess that depends on whether she has any money in her own name - which is a distinct possibility - and whether her father cuts her off completely. She need only have an income of two hundred pounds a year or so to afford a 'maid of all work' It would be unusual for a girl of her class not to have two or three thousand a year coming to her on attainment of an age specified in a will, or on marriage.

2.3.3 Sir Joseph's remark

Paul McShane: But didn't Sir Joseph say that the captain occupied a station in the LOWER middle class? Would that have made a difference re having servants? To which David Duffey replied: Please don't take what that wrong-headed donkey, Sir Joseph Porter, has to say on the matter as true. I have heard English audiences of the 1990s gasp on hearing that line for the first time. The outrageous satire of Pinafore is partly based on the fact that Sir Joseph is of much lower class than the Corcorans, and would not pass in their set for a moment. A captain RN would see nothing Elysian in his daughter marrying a cabinet minister. In fact it would be Sir Joseph who would be 'advanced' by the match.

Then Derrick McClure: I've always wondered what Sir Joseph meant here. Josephine's description of her father's household assuredly does not suggest the lower middle class. And could a man from that station possibly be a naval captain? Is this a sign of Sir Joseph's own modest origin, that he's so ignorant of manners and customs in social spheres above what used to be his own that he makes such a ridiculous assumption? And is it a satirical dig at the deference accorded to the aristocracy that a man of undistinguished origins, having become a lord, is able to insult and humiliate the Captain with total impunity? I must admit that I find it just slightly uncomfortable that the Captain, clearly not only a splendid commander but one of humanity's natural aristocrats, seems so helpless before that jumped-up little nyaff. Any thoughts? To which Louis Wernick: Yes, Derrick. In Jane Austen's later novels, which depict Georgian rather than Victorian England, think of her description of officers during and after the Napoleonic wars - Captains Harville and Benwick in Persuasion, the Lieutenants Price in Mansfield Park. Of course, Pinafore is most firmly rooted in Victorian England, and therefore uses social standards of several generations later, so the social standing of naval officers may have been much different by then. On the other hand (and I am just guessing here) isn't part of the universal charm of Pinafore the way characters misunderstand or even misrepresent perceptions of each other's social classes, as opposed to works such as Pirates, which quite clearly make accurate distinctions between what Americans call today "new rich" and "old rich"?

And Marc Shepherd: I've always thought part of the joke in Pinafore is that Sir Joseph refers to Captain Corcoran as being "lower middle class"; whereas, in fact, it is Corcoran who is "related to a peer," while Sir Joseph rose to his position from relatively modest origins. Throughout the opera, Sir Joseph treats the Captain with disrespect, even though it is the Captain who is higher born.

2.3.4 Farmed out

Jeff De Marco asked: Doesn't it seem strange that someone of Corcoran's family status would be "farmed" out the same nursemaid as lowly Ralph? Gwyn Aubrey replied; Mark Twain wrote a very interesting book about a slave woman who had a very pale child, and was the wetnurse on a plantation. She purposely switched the children up, so her son could inherit. If Little Buttercup was a wetnurse in the household of the Corcoran's, whatever happened to her child? Died at birth? Or is Captain Corcoran really her son, which makes the ending rather incestuous? To which David Duffey: Gilbert wrote the Bab Ballad "The Baby's Vengeance" (of which Eden makes such a song and dance) dealing with the psychological effect on the natural child of a wet nurse. Wet nurses were invariably lower class; most frequently they 'had sinned', i.e. they had borne a child out of wedlock. It is most unlikely that the Corcoran child would have been 'farmed', but more than likely he would have been wet nursed, either because his mother died at birth, or because it was widely believed that breast-feeding destroyed the figure.

2.4. Hebe's parts

2.4.1 First Cousin or relative

Bill Schneider wrote: Something always struck me as being odd about the final marriage arrangements in Pinafore. In the program, Hebe is listed as SJP's "first cousin." While marrying relatives was common back then (keeps the money in the family, I suppose) was it ever common practice to marry someone as closely related as a first cousin? Likewise, CC marrying Buttercup doesn't seem right either, considering she is essentially old enough to be his mother. But at least they're not related. Derek Williams, Peter Meason, Bob Richards and Gordon Pascoe: all pointed out from their own experiences that in the UK first cousins are frequently married.

Bruce Miller replied: In Sullivan's autograph the character name "Hebe" is usually not found, and the designation for Hebe's vocal line is "Relative" or "1st Relative". What this indicates I'm not certain; but the recitative just before the Act II Finale was one of the last things Sullivan wrote for the score, so it may be that plot issues regarding Hebe may have been resolved only near the end of the creative process; and the 1st cousin issue may be another of those loose ends, such as the age differentials between the Captain and Ralph. Much of the fun in Pinafore, to me, is that some of the plot elements don't make sense. Marc Shepherd remarked on this: No, as it's presented in modern-day libretti, Hebe is listed as "Sir Joseph's First Cousin," leaving no doubt that "first" is meant biologically, not theatrically. However, in Sullivan's autograph, and also in the libretto filed with the Lord Chamberlain for licensing, she is captioned "First Relative" throughout. This suggests that Gilbert originally conceived of her as an unspecified relative, and the decision was made later to make her specifically Sir J's First Cousin. If Albert and Victoria were first cousins, this could well have influenced Gilbert to choose the same relationship for Joseph Porter and Hebe. Mary Finn replied: I suspect he made Hebe a cousin, because otherwise Sir J would wind up marrying a sister or an aunt, which would have been much more shocking.

2.4.2 Her recitative

Clive Woods asked: The recitative just before the Act II Finale w has always been cut in every performance I've seen or been involved in. Why? Marc Shepherd replied: For the simple reason that Gilbert and Sullivan themselves cut it. It seems to have survived in the first few performances of the original run before being converted to dialogue. It was published as recitative in the first edition of the vocal score, however, so it is available to anyone who wants to perform it. I've seen at least two Pinafores in which it was given as recitative. It strikes me as a reversion to Sullivan's "Sorcerer-style" recitative--i.e., rather academic sounding, not in keeping with the style of the rest of the surrounding material. I would imagine this was the reason the music was cut. And Rica Mendes: Most likely because it's not included in all the scores and, I believe, the more popular scores. I have it in my personal edition, but I haven't seen it in others. Wasn't it written because Jessie Bond couldn't remember the words and needed the melody to help her remember them?

Bruce Miller observed: The recitative appeared only in the first printing of the first edition of the vocal score; it was deleted within days of opening night. Sullivan likewise removed it from his autograph full score. The only reason we still have the original orchestration for it is because it was published in the German lithographed full score, Amor am Bord. I don't ever recall seeing quite the version Rica describes above, that Jessie Bond was reluctant to go on stage in a speaking part because needed the music as a memorization crutch; but it is fairly well established that she requested the recitative as a substitute for her few lines of spoken dialogue because she was intimidated for some reason - perhaps it was because of a memory concern. But it seems clear that the authors preferred this passage to be spoken rather than sung as recitative. The sung version is somewhat stilted, but it does have some interesting touches - the chorus repeats certain lines in typical G & S style, and the "monarch of the sea" musical motive is used in a way unlike its other appearances in Pinafore. It does, in fact, very much resemble the recitative treatment at the end of Sorcerer, just prior to the final chorus. And Steve Lichtenstein: The final lines preceding the Finale ("Sad my lot and sorry... three loving pairs on the same day united") certainly seem more designed for singing than speaking.

Updated 27 March 1998