Show Photographs

28th Festival Season - 2006

The Gondoliers

By: Gilbert and Sullivan
Premiere: Savoy Theatre, London, December 7, 1889
Performance Dates:
  • June 29th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 2nd, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 7th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 19th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • July 22nd, 2006 - 8:00pm
  • July 29th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • August 8th, 2006 - 2:00pm
  • August 11th, 2006 - 2:00pm

The Gondoliers was the twelfth opera written by Gilbert and Sullivan. It ran for 554 performances and was the last great success of the Gilbert & Sullivan partnership. Set in Venice, this comic opera with its lifting score has, perhaps, the most sparkling and tuneful music of them all, and numbers include: Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes, From the Sunny Spanish Shore, In Enterprise of Martial Kind, I am a Courtier Grave and Serious, On the Day That I Was Wedded, Small Titles and Orders, O Rapture! When Alone Together, There Was a Time, When a Merry Maiden Marries, I Stole the Prince, There I Lived a King, and As I've Been Told.

Casilda, the 21-year-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro, was married at birth by proxy to the infant son and heir of the exceedingly wealthy King of Barataria. Unfortunately, the King became a rather bigoted Wesleyan Methodist, and the Grand Inquisitor, determined that such a trend should not continue, arranged for the heir to be kidnapped and taken to Venice. There he was placed in the care of a respectable gondolier who raised him alongside his own son. Now gondoliers themselves, his "sons", Marco and Giuseppe, have recently selected a bride each, Gianetta and Tessa, from their large female following and are, therefore, upset to learn that, as heir apparent to the throne, one of them may have to sacrifice his bride in order to marry Casilda. She is not happy with the situation either as she is in love with Luiz. As Marco and Giuseppe's "father" has since died, the only person that can truly identify the Prince is Inez, who was his childhood nurse. When called upon to make her judgement she reveals that neither is in fact the King's son, because when the baby was kidnapped she substituted her own child in his place. Therefore, the true heir to the throne of Barataria is Luiz. This proves satisfactory to all parties, as the gondoliers can keep their brides, and Casilda can both fulfill the proxy and marry the one she loves. Children of all ages will be captivated by the charisma of The Gondoliers.

Ohio Light Opera Presents Gilbert and Sullivan Favorite 'The Gondoliers'

Show opens Thursday, June 29, at 2 p.m. at The College of Wooster�s Freedlander Theatre

WOOSTER, Ohio � Worlds collide in the quest to put the lost Prince of Barataria on his throne when The Ohio Light Opera presents Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Gondoliers" on Thursday, June 29 (2 p.m.), at The College of Wooster's Freedlander Theatre (329 E. University St.). Artistic Director Steven Daigle directs this lively operetta that will take audiences on a whirlwind adventure, starting in Venice and ending on the mythical island of Barataria.

Gilbert and Sullivan are international favorites in the world of operetta and are mainstays in The Ohio Light Opera's repertoire. Daigle said the company makes a tradition of performing a Gilbert and Sullivan piece every season. Past favorites include "The Pirates of Penzance," "The Mikado," "The Grand Duke," "Ruddigore," and "Yeomen of the Guard," as well as "H.M.S Pinafore," which will also be reprised this season. "The Gondoliers" was one of the nine productions performed in OLO's inaugural season in 1979 and was a success when last performed during the company's 23rd season in 2001.

Anne Marie Frohnmayer and Maren Tenny split the role of the beautiful Casilda, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Plaza. She is secretly in love with the Duke's assistant, Luiz, played by Adam Lloyd and Michael Denos. The two lovers believe they will be separated because, as a baby, Casilda was betrothed to the infant prince of Barataria. The man who knows the prince's identity is Don Alhambra de Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain, played by Gary Moss. Alhambra kidnapped the infant prince and gave him to a gondolier who already had a young son. Unfortunately, that gondolier was a drunkard, and soon forgot which boy was which. Now, the only person who knows the truth is Luiz's mother, Inez, played by Jessie Wright Martin. The boys, Marco and Giuseppe Palmeri, grow up to be heartthrobs, the apple of every Venetian girl's eye. Nicholas Hartley and Peter Bush share the role of Giuseppe, while Benjamin Robinson and Jack Beetle split the role of Marco. The boys choose their brides and are married when Alhambra proclaims that one of them is king of the now failing kingdom of Barataria. The brothers decide to rule the kingdom jointly. Alhambra finally reveals that the rightful king is betrothed to Casilda, who just arrived in Barataria with her parents and Luiz. The couples are distressed until Inez appears and reveals the identity of the true prince and now king of Barataria.

"'The Gondoliers' is typical Gilbert and Sullivan," said Daigle, referring to common G&S themes like baby swapping and critiquing the monarchy. "The entire piece functions as a critique of English culture. That's why it was thrown into a different place like Barataria."

In its commitment to historical preservation, The Ohio Light Opera prides itself in not changing the scores. Daigle calls Gilbert and Sullivan's work "clean scores," meaning the lyrics and music work so well they tend not to be toyed with. "Most of the leads have been here before and they understand there's no reason to mess with the scores," said Daigle. "American operetta is about a favorite tune. With Gilbert and Sullivan, you don't think of just one memorable tune, rather you think of the piece as a whole."

As artistic director, Daigle tries to make these 19th and early 20th century works "more accessible" to the audience by updating the pieces, making them politically correct and "lightening up the wording." Much like Sullivan's music, Gilbert's whimsical and playful text is important to the formula of a Gilbert and Sullivan production, and therefore, does not require alterations, according to Daigle.

Article written by Laura McHugh
Production Team
ConductorJ. Lynn Thompson
Stage DirectorSteven Daigle
ChoreographerCarol Hageman
Assistant DirectorStephen Carr
Set DesignerKirk Domer
Costume DesignerCharlene Gross
Lighting DesignerShannon Schweitzer
The Duke of Plaza-Toro, a Grandee of SpainTed Christopher
Luiz, His AttendantAdam Lloyd
Michael Denos
The Duchess of Plaza-ToroSandra Ross
Valerie Hart Nelson
Casilda, Her DaughterAnne Marie Frohnmayer
Maren Tenney
Don Alhambra Del Bolero, The Grand InquisitorGary Moss
Gianetta, ContadineErin Jackson-Legris
Kemper LeCroy Florin
Tessa, ContadineSahara Glasener-Boles
Jill Anna Ponasik
Giuseppe Palmieri, GondolierNicholas Hartley
Peter Bush
Marco Palmieri, GondolierBenjamin Robinson
Jack Beetle
Fiametta, ContadineDonata Cucinotta
Antonio, GondolierJoseph Valone
Inez, The King's Foster-MotherJessie Wright Martin
Women of the Ensemble: Donata Cucinotta, Ashly Evans, Kemper LeCroy Florin, Anne Marie Frohnmayer, Sahara GlasenerBoles, Karla Hughes, Erin Jackson-Legris, Amanda Kingston, Claire Maloney, Jessie Wright Martin, Danielle McCormick, Elizabeth Mitchell, Valerie Hart Nelson, Jill Anna Ponasik, Sandra Ross and Maren Tenney.
Men of the Ensemble: Jacob Allen, Jack Beetle, Anthony Buck, Peter Bush, Ted Christopher, Michael Denos, Nicholas Hartley, Grant Knox, David Krohn, Adam Lloyd, Gary Moss, Tyler Oliphant, Benjamin Robinson, Brian Tanner and Joseph Valone.