Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

W. S. Gilbert (librettist) and Arthur Sullivan (composer) wrote fourteen works of musical theatre from 1871 to 1896, often called the ‘Savoy operas’ after 1881, when producer Richard D’Oyly Carte built the Savoy Theatre to house them. They crafted a distinctive genre of English comic opera through parodies of previous genres both high and low, both English and Continental. The operas are absurdist, parodic, and satirical, but are played in a deadpan style and are punctuated with resonantly affecting numbers. The comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan are an essential precursor of the modern musical, and their depiction of English society is humorous yet critical, replete with satire of English institutions, the law, the professions, gender relations, and empire. They examine the theatricality of everyday life, the dynamics of socialization, accidents of birth and circumstance, the effects of tutelage and authority, Victorian exhibition culture, social class, gender, and nationalism.

Keywords: class, gender, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, nationalism, parody, Patience, satire, Utopia Limited, Victorian

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.