The Best of British by Andover Musical Society
18 Oct 2001

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The Andover Musical and Operatic Society open their evening of British Songs and Music with "Fill Every Glass" from the Beggar's Opera. The evening was compered by Will Johnson, and ended with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury.

"This was a great evening, showing local talent at its best. It was kind of George Hill to sponsor the evening"

Programme Notes
British music has always reflected the times in which it was written, and our concert tonight gives a flavour of British musical theatre for the last four centuries.
The Beggars Opera was first produced in January 1728, and was a caricature of the government of Robert Walpole and the prevailing fashion for Italian opera. In many ways John Gay, a prolific writer of his time was the pioneer of fliture comic and more serious British music theatre, culminating in the productions of Lloyd Webber.

Our concert also notes the role of the Music Hall, which developed in the 19th century, and where new songs would be sold as sheet music in hours by street vendors. These would be sung around the piano in many a home, a forerunner to the home entertainment systems of today.

The Best of British - well, Britain is made up geographically of England, Wales, Scotland as well as Ireland, and tonight we will bring you the best from these countries each with their own language, cultural and musical traditions.

So tonight we bring you a sample of the best of musical theatre, from John Gay through Gilbert and Sullivan and Edward German, from Ivor Novello to Lionel Bart and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and popular music from the music hall to Lennon and McCartney.

Only a sample it’s true, but there is so much to choose from - so much that is the Best of British.
And surely the epitome of all that is best in British musical theatre is Gilbert and Sullivan, and tonight we present a complete performance of Trial by Jury.

First produced at the Royalty Theatre on March 25 1875, this one act “comic opera” (there is no dialogue) firmly established the partnership that for so long has been the mainstay and indeed the yardstick for all future British comic opera and musicals.
Both Sullivan and Gilbert had previously collaborated with others and despite their often stormy personal relationship, Trial was the first of a series of operettas written over a period of some twenty years ending with the production of The Grand Duke in
1896.
Very simply, Edwin is being sued by Angelina for Breach of Promise of Marriage.
The characterisations, and absolutely ridiculous solution of the “nice dilemma” have passed into the language as “Gilbertian”!
Have a good evening


 
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