Snappy tunes and clever lyrics, social criticism and outrageous comedy, British manners and exotic locales these are the hallmarks of the works of William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, who transformed an ordinary evening at the operetta into an extraordinary event.
A century later, Gilbert's tongue-in-cheek word-smithing, marvelously put to music by Sullivan, has the power to move and amuse millions. Together, the duo wrote 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best loved.
Mary Margaret Roberts, who once sang with the much-heralded Lamplighters, a San Francisco Gilbert and Sullivan group, directed a recent Summerset Vista event in Brentwood in which a cast of Summerset Singers performed 16 Gilbert and Sullivan songs from five operettas. Singers performed as soloists, in duets, trios, quartets and as an ensemble.
The event was produced by Linda Stanley, who has been the Summerset Singers' producer for several of their annual shows. The Singers were accompanied by Summerset Singer and assistant accompanist Louise Jensen, whose flawless playing was rewarded by a standing ovation and well-deserved bouquet.
I really enjoyed the show, said audience member Kathy Hampton. It's amazing how much talent we have here in Summerset.
The Gilbert and Sullivan show was a one-time event, but its success has Roberts thinking about an encore production sometime in the not too distant future.
This year's summer production will be staged on July 25, 26 and 27 at the Summerset Vista theater. The show, Cole Porter! From Broadway to Hollywood, will consist of many timeless and memorable Cole Porter melodies like Anything Goes, You're the Top, DeLovely, Just One of Those Things and many more. Recent productions have been limited to Summerset residents and have all sold out.