Friday, 2 November 2012
Utopia Ltd in Greenwich
Gilbert's libretto is a tad long and rambling, and lacks the focus of some of his others, which means that Sullivan's music is less than inspired. Also, the piece requires a large principal cast. This means that after performances in 1904/5 it was not professionally revived by D'Oyly Carte until 1975!
The plot involves a Pacific Island paradise being corrupted by the importation of English influence resulting from the English education of the King's daughter. By 'co-incidence' the year the operetta was produced, Princess Kaiulani from Hawaii (then independent) was being educated at private school in England. Though the memoirs of Anna Leonowens (which inspired The King and I) undoubtedly also influenced Gilbert. His views on the Limited Liability act first surfaced in The Gondoliers.
The piece is being performed in Greenwich by the Centenary Company, an amateur company who mount a production of G&S each year. Their name comes from the fact that they owe their origins in a company gathered to celebrate the centenary of Blackheath Halls.
Further information from the Centenary Company website.