| Thespis > Quade Winter's Score
by Quade Winter
I first read the libretto to Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old sometime back in junior high school, at the very beginning of my Gilbert and Sullivan indoctrination. Even then I would make up tunes for the operas I didn't know yet. One such tune was, "Goodness gracious, how audacious, earth is spacious, why come here?
That tune came back to me a whole career in music later when the idea of "completing" Thespis popped into my head.
I knew that others had already tried it in a fashion suggested by Sullivan himself: in later years, when asked whatever happened to the score of Thespis, he replied, half in jest, half in evasion, that he had saved the tunes to use in other operas. Hence, would-be restorers have filled out the libretto with tunes from lesser-known Sullivan pieces: Haddon Hall, The Chieftain, The Zoo, and so forth. I decided that the hard way was going to be the easy way: leaving the two surviving Thespis numbers (the ballad “Little Maid of Arcadee” and “Climbing over Rocky Mountain,”) as they were, all the rest of the music I composed afresh, starting from scratch.
Shortly afterward, I read about the Ohio Light Opera in the British "Opera" magazine. The company — rightly dubbed "The Bayreuth of Operetta" — could boast of having produced every one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, from Trial by Jury to The Grand Duke. I sent my score to James Stuart, Artistic Director of the company, half-joking that with Thespis now he really could make the boast. He called my bluff and slated the world premiere for the summer of 1996.
I swiftly learned that this company knew its Gilbert and Sullivan. With Jim directing, J. Lynn Thompson at the podium, Daniel Neer in the role of Thespis, an enthusiastic cast, a wonderful orchestra — well, one cast member asked me, "do you always smile this much?"
May it make you smile too!
The piano vocal score can be purchased for $15 (S&H included). It's also available for perusal. A full set of orchestra parts is available. Their rental is included included in the royalty price. None of the solos are difficult except for Mercury and Nicemis who have a few high notes, all of which are marked with easier options (who's going to know?).
Royalty: Negotiated according to company size.
Running time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, not counting intermission. There are 13 numbers, 6 with chorus (2 part divisi for each section).
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Page modified 13 March 2011 Copyright © 2006-11 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved.