Portland Playhouse A Christmas Carol Portland Oregon

PuzzleWatch: Gilbert & Sullivan – The very model of an artistic duo

Test your knowledge of G&S with a puzzle that's sure to challenge even the most modern of Major-Generals.


Illustration by W.S. Gilbert for "Now, Jurymen, hear my advice" from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Trial by Jury." Source: Wikimedia Commons
Illustration by W.S. Gilbert for “Now, Jurymen, hear my advice” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury.” Source: Wikimedia Commons

The dynamic Victorian duo of Sirs W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan produced a whopping 14 operas. Theirs was a powerful, if occasionally combative, artistic relationship. Sullivan was a prodigious musician who sang in the Chapel Royal Choir in London, wrote 23 operas, including those with Gilbert, 13 orchestral works, ballets, as well as sacred and secular songs, including royal commissions for Queen Victoria.  Gilbert was a writer of stories, libretti, and magazine pieces, which were often accompanied by his own humorous illustrations.

Between 1871 (Thespis) and 1896 (The Grand Duke), they collaborated primarily with Richard D’Oyly Carte, theatrical agent and impresario, who founded the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and produced their operas at his Savoy Theater. Scattered throughout the so-called “comic” operas, there’s political satire (Trial by Jury), slapstick (everywhere), and magic (Ruddigore and The Sorcerer), all in varied settings, including Japan (Mikado), Venice (Gondoliers), and fairyland (Iolanthe). The character names in these works often deserve a chuckle: Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, Prince Hilarion (Princess Ida), Dr. Daly, Little Buttercup, and Don Alhambra (named after a majestic London hotel).

Portland has an affectionate relationship with the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Perhaps you saw Light Opera of Portland’s wonderful recent productions of H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial by Jury. For their next production, they present Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1877 opera, The Sorcerer, which is full of magic, misaimed loved, and raucous confusion. The show runs October 27 through November 5 at the Multnomah Arts Center. Tickets and more information here.

Enjoy this PuzzleWatch tribute to Gilbert and Sullivan!

Gilbert & Sullivan – The very model of an artistic duo – Click here for an interactive puzzle you can fill out in your web browser

Download the puzzle as a printable PDF

Download the answer key

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Daryl Browne is a music educator, alto, flutist and writer who lives in Beaverton, Oregon.

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