Gilbert and Sullivan: A Dual Biography

Author(s): Michael Ainger


'A Gilbert is of no use without a Sullivan.' With these words, W.S. Gilbert summed up his reasons for persisting in his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan despite the combative nature of their relationship. In fact, Michael Ainger suggests in Gilbert and Sullivan the success of the pair's work is a direct result of their personality clash, as each partner challenged the other to produce his best work. After exhaustive research into the D'Oyly Carte collection of documents, Ainger offers the most detailed account to date of Gilbert and Sullivan's starkly different backgrounds and long working partnership. Having survived an impoverished and insecure childhood, Gilbert flourished as a financially successful theater professional, married happily and established himself as a property owner. His sense of proprietorship extended beyond real estate, and he fought tenaciously to protect the integrity of his musical works. Sullivan, the product of a supportive family who nourished his talent, was much less satisfied with stability than his collaborator.His creative self-doubts and self-demands led to nervous and physical breakdowns, but it also propelled the team to break the successful mode of their earliest work to produce more ambitious pieces of theater, including The Mikado and The Yeoman of the Guards .
Offering previously-unpublished draft libretti and personal letters, this thorough double-biography will be an essential addition to the library of any Gilbert and Sullivan fan.


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Michael Ainger taught French and Italian for 30 years in the London secondary schools. Retired from teaching, he has worked at the Guildhall is a freelance researcher and writer. He has worked at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

CURTAIN-RAISER: THE LONDON GROCER AND THE IRISH SOLDIER; PART I: 1836-1837 BY DIFFERENT ROUTES TO THE STAGE DOOR; Chapter 1 : 1836-1852 Gilbert: a dramatic childhood. Sullivan: a musical background; Chapter 2 : 1853-1858 The Chapel Royal and King's College; Chapter 3 : 1859-1862 Sullivan at Leipzig; Gilbert at Law; Chapter 4 : 1863-1866 Gilbert and Sullivan: the ballad writers; PART II: 1867-1877 ESTABLISHING REPUTATIONS: FROM COX AND BOX TO THE SORCERER; Chapter 5 : 1867-1868 Gilbert and Sullivan in the theatre; Chapter 6 : 1869-1871 The Meeting of Gilbert and Sullivan C Thespis; Chapter 7 : 1872-1873 Different Worlds: Gilbert's The Wicked World; Sullivan's The Light of the World; Chapter 8 : 1874-1875 Trial By Jury; Chapter 9 : 1875-1876 In search of a manager; Chapter 10 : 1876 Sullivan is honoured; Gilbert is ridiculed; Chapter 11 : 1877 The Comedy Opera Company and The Sorcerer; PART III: 1877-1884 THE G&S PHENOMENON: FROM HMS PINAFORE TO PRINCESS IDA; Chapter 12 : 1877-1878 HMS Pinafore; Chapter 13 : 1878-1879 Troubled Waters; Chapter 14 : 1879 America and The Pirates of Penzance; Chapter 15 : 1880-1881 Patience; Chapter 16 : 1881 The Savoy Theatre; Chapter 17 : 1881-1882 Iolanthe; Chapter 18 : 1883-1884 Princess Ida

General Fields

  • : 9780195386936
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : Oxford University Press Inc
  • : February 2009
  • : 234mm X 155mm X 35mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 209
  • : Paperback
  • : Michael Ainger
  • : 528