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Written by
FRANK DESPREZ
Composed by
ALFRED CELLIER

I. INTRODUCTION
II LIBRETTO [PDF 96KB]
III FRANK DESPREZ

Introduction

First produced at the Opera Comique 21st February 1880; revived 3rd April 1880 to 2nd April 1881 as a curtain raiser to The Pirates of Penzance, and again from 23rd or 25th (sources differ) April to 2nd May 1881 and from 11th to 14th October 1881 as a curtain raiser to Patience. It was also performed from 21st February to 20th March 1880 with the "Children's Pinafore."

No trace of either printed libretto or vocal score in British Library.

Libretto in Lord Chamberlain's collection, Add. MS. 53231 Play no. 6 in Jan-Feb 1880.

Cast (1880)

MR. JAMES LIVERBY, a man of business George Temple
MRS. GEORGINA LIVERBY, his wife Lilian La Rue
JOSEPH, a boy in buttons Frank Thornton
ONE MUTA PERSONA Ellen Shirley (?)

Cast (1881, after the Pirates company returned from America)

MR. JAMES LIVERBY George Temple/W.H. Seymour
MRS. GEORGINA LIVERBY Julia Gwynne
JOSEPH Frank Thornton

One of these cast changes occurred when the Pirates of Penzance company returned from New York, Gwynne replacing La Rue as Kate and Mrs. Liverby. When George Temple left at the end of the run of Pirates of Penzance Seymour took over Mr. Liverby.

Given on tour November to December 1879 (cast unknown) and in December 1879 with Lithgow James and "Miss Larne" (?= Lilian La Rue). Also from March to December 1880 with cast: Mary Duggan, Edward Clowes, Horace Bolini; and from October 1880 to December 1881 with Clara Merivale (to March), Millie Vere (from March), W.T. Hemsley, (Louis Herbert, York, February 1881) and Albert James. On tour 1880-1882 with John le Hay (to August 1881), John Wilkinson (August to December 1881), Florence Harcourt, E[dgar] Johnson (to April) and Edgar Manning (from April)

Synopsis

Scene: A room in Mr. Liverby's house. Mr. and Mrs. Liverby have had a tiff, and Mr. Liverby is sulking and refusing to speak to his wife. Mrs. Liverby decides to make him jealous and writes a love-letter to herself, allegedly from a young man. Mr. Liverby finds a love-letter, but when he learns it was a joke he forgives her. However, the letter turns out not to be the one Mrs. Liverby had written, but another one written by a young man who has been hanging around the house for days trying to get an opportunity to speak to her. She is absolutely terrified, but her husband refuses to listen, thinking that this is another joke to try to make him lose his temper again, and he is determined to stay in a good humour. The young man eventually turns out to be Mr. Liverby's nephew who had been sacked from the firm in a moment of pique, and who has merely been trying to persuade Mrs. Liverby to put in a good word for him. Mr. Liverby agrees to reinstate his nephew, and all ends happily.


MIDI files of Colin Johnson's music, replacing Cellier's lost score, are available on his
Victorian and Edwardian Light Operas
site.

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