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Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!: The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan [Hardcover]

Ian Bradley
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

7 April 2005
In Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! expert and enthusiast Ian Bradley explores the world of Gilbert and Sullivan over the last four and a half decades, looking at the way this "phenomenon" is passed from generation to generation. Taking as his starting point the expiry of copyright on the opera libretti at the end of 1961 and using fascinating hitherto unpublished archive material, Bradley reveals the extraordinary story of the last years of the old D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, the guardian of Savoy tradition for over a hundred years, and the troubled history of its successor. He explores the rich vein of parodies, spoofs, and spin-offs of the songs, as well as their influence on twentieth century lyricists and composers. He analyzes professional productions across the world, looks at the unique place of G&S in schools, colleges, and universities, and lovingly explores the culture of amateur performance. He also uncovers the largely male world of the obsessive fans, those collecting memorabilia, the myriad magazines, journals, websites, and festivals devoted to G&S, and the arcane interests of some of the faithful "inner brotherhood."

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195167007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195167009
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 16.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,121,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


...an exhaustive study of the performance history of the Savoy Operas. (The Tablet)

About the Author

Ian Bradley is one of world's leading authorities on and enthusiasts for the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. He annotated them from top to toe in The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan (OUP, 1996), has broadcast regularly on the operas for the BBC, and acted as consultant to the D'Oyly Carte Company. He is Vice President of the Arthur Sullivan Society and honorary life president of the St. Andrews University Gilbert and Sullivan Society with whom he has performed several principal bass-baritone roles. His abiding passion for G&S is fitted into his more serious life as a minister in the Church of Scotland, University Chaplain and Reader in Practical Theology and Church History in the School of Divinity at St. Andrews University. He is the author of more than 30 books.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When the Mikado regales Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah with details of the punishment for compassing the death to the heir to the throne, he terrifies them by saying that although he cannot recall the precise details, he knows that it is something lingering. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Contrary to what the American reviewers say, this is not a book for people who already know a fair bit about G & S. I'm sure there must be some people out there who will get something out of this, but as someone who has spent 25 years performing the pieces, is a member of the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society and has read the standard biographies of G & S, I found this to be a rehash of things I knew already, padded out with some observations of the bleeding obvious and a couple of interviews with a pretty limited number of sources.

A couple of observations are on the button - the more fanatical G & S lovers do tend to be male and middle aged and able to recite vast tracts of the librettos verbatim (guilty as charged m'lud). Less startling? G & S is more popular at Oxbridge than amongst the masses (you don't say) and a lot of gay people like it (yes, but given that west end male casts and frequently audiences) are disproportionately represented by gay people to say that the same applies to the G & S sub-branch of the music theatre genre is hardly incisive commentary).

Confess the chapter on the American performance tradition didn't interest me remotely and most people who know anything about G & S will already be aware of the Papp pirates, the Hot Mikado and the well known parodies.

None of which is to say that there won't be some people looking for an introduction to G & S who will find this rewarding. It's well enough written, after all. It's just that I personally didn't.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rapturous edition/addition 26 Aug 2005
By F. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Ian Bradley has done a marvelous job in researching the G and S scene since the end of the G and S copyright in 1961. Each chapter is chockfull of interesting notes on productions, singers and the politics that rage behind the scenes. For anyone interested in the current G and S scene, this book is a must. I was a little disappointed in the details of the American G and S scene, but the rest of the book made up for this defect!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! 2 Aug 2006
By Jay Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ian Bradley's book is an excellent look at the continuing popularity of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas over 100 years after they were written. Books that discuss the history of Gilbert & Sullivan when they were alive are a dime a dozen. Bradley's is the first book to specifically look at the performance and cultural history of the Savoy operas since the expiration of the libretti copyright in 1961. Among the topics that Bradley touches on are the history of the old D'Oyly Carte Opera Company since 1961, as well as the sad story of its successor; how Gilbert & Sullivan shows and church-going often go hand-in-hand; parodies and spinoffs of the shows; professional and amateur productions of Gilbert & Sullivan; and more.

My chief complaint is that when Bradley goes into the performance history since 1961, the writing gets dry and tedious. To elaborate, he simply makes lists of performances in many sections. Frankly, I think that a list of performances would have worked better as an appendix.

With that caveat, this is an excellent resource for any Gilbert & Sullivan fan, and I definitely recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh Joy, Oh Rapture....good stuff! 8 Mar 2007
By Patrick Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Ian Bradley has a good insight into what the State of the Union is right now regarding the Gilbert & Sullivan scene on both sides of the Atlantic. I had a conversation a year ago with a former 'Old D'Oyly Carte' member who expressed an opinion that the Savoy tradition was actually safer in America right now. This book does a good job of explaining why. Excellent research put together very well, 'must' reading for G&S afficienados. I highly recommend it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert and Sullivan Forever 12 May 2007
By George Berry - Published on Amazon.com
This book is for anyone and everyone who is already a G&S fan (as in fanatic). On the other hand, I expect that it would have limited if any appeal to someone with little interest in G&S. Strong in annecdotes and quotations, the author does not really make a good case for G&S's antecedant position in the development of modern musical theatre which might have given the book a wider audience.
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Rapture! Oh joy! 29 Dec 2012
By Charles L. Duval - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most exciting books on Gilbert & Sullivan I have ever read! It doesn't contain repetative synopses of the stories, it doesn't contain biographical tidbits, character analyses, or apologies for G&S being...well, G&S. What it does is discusses the history of G&S at the difficult time of the D'Oyly Carte Company's passing into history, and the subsequent rise of its succesors and its international fandom ever since. For those of us who either grew up on G&S or cut our early adolescent teeth on Pinafore, Mikado, or Pirates, then this book is for you! One teeny, tiny quibble...the author seems to feel that most fans are middle aged men whereas I know for a fact that a great many of us - including myself - are women. But let that pass! This is a wonderful, entertaining book that I heartily recommend to anyone, old fans or new, to explore G&S in the post D'Oyly Carte world. Do not miss this!
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