First performed at the Savoy Theatre 13th February 1886 to 19th January 1887, as companion piece to The Mikado. Revived as companion to Ruddigore from 21st February to 5th November 1887.
No printed vocal score in British Library. Copy of libretto in Lord Chamberlain's collection, Add.MS. 53351, Play no. Q, Jan-Feb 1886. Libretto published in Curtain raisers for amateurs and others, by Frank Desprez. Published in Bristol by Simpkin, Marshall & Co. and in London by J Arrowsmith, 1886, British Library shelf mark is 11781.aaaa.58. In addition to The Carp the volume contains Round and Square, The c'rrect card, Lasca and Matamoros.
TIME:— The Seventeenth Century
When Hildesley went on tour at the end of July 1886, his part was taken by James/Charles Wilbraham, who played it till the end of both runs. Findlay played her part till 20 September 1896 when Miss Lindsay took over for 3 days, to be succeeded in turn by Rose Hervey for the rest of the run of The Mikado. During the revival Misses Hervey and Lindsay shared the part. Eric Lewis left the company after The Mikado terminated and the part was taken over by J. M. Gordon, who had already deputised for Lewis when he "went on" as Ko-Ko.
There are three characters, Amandus (tenor), Amanda (soprano) and Piscator (basso-cantata). Five numbers are indicated in the libretto, a solo for each of the characters, a trio, and a duet for the tenor and soprano.
The piece is set in a charming rural landscape, with a stream, rustic bridge etc. Piscator enters ready for a quiet day's fishing, but is disturbed by Amandus bent on committing suicide by throwing himself into the river. This greatly upsets Piscator, who relates (at length) that he has spent his entire life trying to catch a particular carp in this part of the river. If Amandus goes and throws himself in he will disturb the carp, and put at an end a lifetime of work. Amandus tells Piscator of his love affair, but promises to wait till after 6.30 before drowning himself, for by that time the carp will have retired.
Amanda now enters, she too is bent on committing suicide by throwing herself into the river, also for hopeless love. Piscator persuades her also to wait, and then goes off, having seen the carp nibble at his line further up the bank.
Amandus and Amanda are left together, and in the course of conversation Amanda tells Amandus that she is proposing to drown herself, Amandus insists that he has already bespoken the pool for that purpose. It turns out that Amandus's love is Clorinda, Amanda's "dearest friend" - Amanda, needless to say, takes this opportunity to run down her friend in fine style, and finally shows Amandus a letter Clorinda has written her, in which she (Clorinda) gives a very unflattering picture of Amandus.
The conversation continues, and Amanda learns that her love, Corydon, is Amandus's best pal, and that he (Corydon) had given Amanda's ring to Amandus to pay off a gambling debt. It appeared that Corydon had some equally unflattering things to say about Amanda. Needless to say, by this time both are cured of their former loves and newly in love with each other, so when Piscator returns, he finds that no one wishes to commit suicide after all.
30 August, 2011