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The Gondoliers, or, The King of Barataria, was the twelfth opera written together by Gilbert and Sullivan. Opening on December 7, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre, The Gondoliers ran for 554 performances, and was the last of the G&S operas that would achieve wide popularity. Its lilting score has, perhaps, the most sparkling and tuneful music of them all and calls, perhaps, for the most dancing.

Short Attention Span Plot

"There is some little doubt as to which of you is the gentleman I am addressing and which is the gentleman who is allowing his attention to wander."

This short attention span version of the plot of The Gondoliers is presented as a service to that special segment of our audience.  We must warn you that this opera contains a lot of musical notes, many of which are accompanied by castanets and other startling percussive effects, so don't doze off.  Furthermore, the first half hour of the opera has no dialogue, and worse yet, the singers keep lapsing into Italian, so it's a little hard to follow the action since there are no subtitles.

The story is about some guys who are members of the Italian Boatmen’s Union, and are staunch republicans (honest).  Two of their members (who happen to be brothers), are pretty shy and have had trouble getting dates, so the local girls set up a game of blind man's bluff and agree that these two wannabe lotharios can marry any two of them they can catch.  Well, after a bit of cheating and other carryings on, they pick a couple of girls, run off to get married, and we move on to where some lines are actually spoken in English.

At this point, a boat docks at the back of the stage, stranding several seasick singers on the seashore (try saying that four times!), consisting of a snooty Spanish Duke, his formidable wife, their equally formidable daughter and the little drummer boy (no, really!).

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