Drawing of the Act I finale
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Poster for the copyright performance at Paignton
George Grossmith as General Stanley, wearing Wolseley's trademark moustache
Marion Hood: "Yes, 'tis Mabel!"
George Power, the original Frederic in London
"Have mercy on us!"
Drawing of Richard Temple as the Pirate King
Isabel Jay as Mabel
Pirate King Henry Lytton denounces Major-General C. H. Workman.
1880 poster
1881 programme cover
Drawing from programme of children's Pirates, 1884
Smith, Ronstadt and Kline at the Delacorte Theatre
Opera Australia's 2007 touring production of Pirates, with Anthony Warlow as the Pirate King
The Major-General carries an encyclopedia in this "Bab" drawing.
Wallpaper showing characters from Pirates and other Savoy operas

The Pirates of Penzance: The Pirate King

- Bass-baritone

The Pirate King (bass-baritone)

- The Pirates of Penzance
Drawing of the Act I finale

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One of Gilbert's illustrations for his Bab Ballad "Gentle Alice Brown"

Gilbert and Sullivan

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One of Gilbert's illustrations for his Bab Ballad "Gentle Alice Brown"
Ages Ago, during a rehearsal for which Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to Sullivan
The Crystal Palace, where several early Sullivan works were first performed
A contemporary illustration of Thespis from The Illustrated London News of 6 January 1872
D. H. Friston's engraving of the original production of Trial by Jury
An early poster showing scenes from The Sorcerer, Pinafore, and Trial by Jury
The Pirate King
George Grossmith as Bunthorne in Patience, 1881
Barnett as The Fairy Queen
Princess Ida, Act II Finale: Hildebrand and soldiers rush through the gate.
Poster for The Mikado
W.H. Denny as Wilfred and Jessie Bond as Phoebe in Yeomen
Rutland Barrington and Courtice Pounds as Giuseppe and Marco in The Gondoliers
Original facade of the Savoy Theatre c.1881
In the midst of the quarrel, Gilbert dedicated a collection of Savoy opera lyrics, Songs of a Savoyard, to the composer
The drawing room scene from Act II of Utopia, Limited
The Entr'acte expresses its pleasure that Gilbert and Sullivan are reunited
1921 cartoon of Gilbert and Sullivan audiences
Advertisement for the first recording of The Mikado, 1917
Detail from a Punch cartoon, showing Sullivan and Gilbert.
1880 Pirates poster
Frontispiece to The Pinafore Picture Book, 1908
Poster for Ages Ago, during a rehearsal for which Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan were a Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900), who jointly created fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

The libretto of H.M.S. Pinafore relied on stock character types, many of which were familiar from European opera (and some of which grew out of Gilbert's earlier association with the German Reeds): the heroic protagonist (tenor) and his love-interest (soprano); the older woman with a secret or a sharp tongue (contralto); the baffled lyric baritone—the girl's father; and a classic villain (bass-baritone).

Theatre poster, 1879

H.M.S. Pinafore

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Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Theatre poster, 1879
Punch cartoon, 1877, portraying First Lord of the Admiralty W. H. Smith as a land-lubber, saying: "I think I'll now go below." In Pinafore, Sir Joseph similarly sings: "When the breezes blow / I generally go below".
Scene from 1886 Savoy Theatre souvenir programme
Illustration of the characters in Act II by D. H. Friston, 1878
Rutland Barrington as A.B.S. Corcoran at the end of Pinafore
Poster illustration from original 1878 production
Opening night programme cover
Advertisement for a (probably unlicensed) American production of H.M.S. Pinafore
1880 programme for Carte's Children's Pinafore
Ruth Vincent as Josephine in 1899
Punch cartoon mocking Sullivan for his focus on comic opera
Rutland Barrington as Captain Corcoran in the first London revival, 1887
Souvenir programme cover from 1878 during the run of the original production
Theatre poster for an American production, c. 1879
Gilbert's Illustration of "A British tar" (1906)
Bond as Hebe with Grossmith as Sir Joseph, 1887 revival
Frontispiece by Alice B. Woodward to The Pinafore Picture Book, 1908
W.S. Gilbert in about 1878
Arthur Seymour Sullivan

Pinafores extraordinary popularity in Britain, America and elsewhere was followed by the similar success of a series of Gilbert and Sullivan works, including The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.

Dick Deadeye, Able Seaman (bass-baritone)

Baritone vocal range (G2–G4) notated on the bass staff (left) and on the piano keyboard in green with middle C (C4) shown in yellow

Baritone

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Type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice-types.

Type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice-types.

Baritone vocal range (G2–G4) notated on the bass staff (left) and on the piano keyboard in green with middle C (C4) shown in yellow

Many operatic works of the 18th century have roles marked as bass that in reality are low baritone roles (or bass-baritone parts in modern parlance).

Major-General Stanley, The Pirates of Penzance

Theatre poster, 1884

The Sorcerer

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Two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan.

Two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan.

Theatre poster, 1884
1878 programme cover
Richard Temple with Mrs Howard Paul in The Sorcerer (1877)
Incantation scene
Act II opening, from 1884 programme
Henry Lytton (J. W. Wells), Elsie Griffin (Aline) and Derek Oldham (Alexis), 1920
W. S. Gilbert illustration, 1890
From 1877 programme
Poster by H. M. Brock for the 1919 revival
Walter Passmore as J. W. Wells in the 1898 revival
Dr Daly accompanies himself on a flageolet on stage
"Welcome, joy, adieu to sadness!"
Grossmith as J. W. Wells, his first of many "patter roles". Sketch by W. S. Gilbert
Rutland Barrington as Dr Daly
Bond, as Constance, pines for Dr Daly, 1884
Warwick and Bentham, 1878, after Warwick took over the role of Aline
Wallpaper showing characters from The Sorcerer and other Savoy operas

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet (bass-baritone)

The New York Times commented in 2012 that the plot "has not aged especially well. Its references to rank are dated beyond empathy’s reach; filled with sly allusions, its assumptions about a general audience's musical knowledge are unrealistic. Without those cues what remains is neither as exotic nor as amusing as Pinafore, Pirates or The Mikado. Still, The Sorcerer packs ample charms, including a felicitous score, a Verdian drinking song turned to teetotal ends, and at least one chorus that has reached the periphery of pop culture. ... the work can entrance a modern audience".

Theatre poster for The Mikado

D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

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Professional British light opera company that, from the 1870s until 1982, staged Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy operas nearly year-round in the UK and sometimes toured in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Professional British light opera company that, from the 1870s until 1982, staged Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy operas nearly year-round in the UK and sometimes toured in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Theatre poster for The Mikado
Richard D'Oyly Carte
Helen Lenoir
Scene from 1886 Savoy Theatre souvenir programme
1881 theatre programme for Patience
Original facade of the Savoy Theatre, c. 1881
Lithograph from The Mikado
Touring advertisement, c. 1890
Grossmith comforts Carte after failure of The Grand Duke.
Rupert D'Oyly Carte
Souvenir programme cover, 1919–20 season
1921 cartoon: D'Oyly Carte audiences
Ricketts's 1926 Mikado design
Planter in front of the Savoy Hotel honouring the Carte family and colleagues
George Grossmith as Bunthorne in Patience
Passmore as Rudolph in The Grand Duke
Henry Lytton, 1901

With Scottish Opera, it co-produced The Pirates of Penzance in 2013, The Mikado in 2016 and The Gondoliers and Utopia, Limited in 2021–22.

Other performers who created a long series of roles in the original productions of the operas included the baritone Rutland Barrington, mezzo-soprano Jessie Bond, soprano Leonora Braham, contralto Rosina Brandram, tenor Durward Lely and bass-baritone Richard Temple.

Bass vocal range (E2–E4) notated on the bass staff (left) and on piano keyboard in green with dot marking middle C (C4).

Bass (voice type)

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Type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types.

Type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types.

Bass vocal range (E2–E4) notated on the bass staff (left) and on piano keyboard in green with dot marking middle C (C4).

It is produced using a more Italianate vocal production, and possesses a faster vibrato, than its closest Germanic/Anglo-Saxon equivalent, the bass-baritone.

Sergeant of Police, The Pirates of Penzance

The ghost scene, depicted by H. M. Brock for the first D'Oyly Carte Opera Company revival in 1921

Ruddigore

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Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

Comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.

The ghost scene, depicted by H. M. Brock for the first D'Oyly Carte Opera Company revival in 1921
Amédée Forestier's illustration of scenes in The Illustrated London News, before the opera's name change.
Richard, Rose and Robin
Robin and Rose
Durward Lely as Dauntless
Henry Lytton as Sir Ruthven
Courtice Pounds as Richard in the original New York production (1887)
George Grossmith as Robin Oakapple
Bond and Barrington: Margaret discloses one of her "odd thoughts" to Despard.
Geraldine Ulmar as Rose in New York
Jessie Bond as Margaret
William Bridges-Adams' Act II set design for the 1921 revival.
Poster from 1887, with Rose and Robin

Sir Despard Murgatroyd of Ruddigore, A Wicked Baronet (bass-baritone or baritone)

A week later, The Academy reckoned that Ruddygore (as it was still called in the review) was probably not so good as Patience or The Mikado, nor as "fresh" as H.M.S. Pinafore, but "it is better than ... Princess Ida, the Pirates, and Iolanthe".