Marie Tempest in A Greek Slave
Marie Tempest as Maia in A Greek Slave

Gilbert and Sullivan Archive

A Greek Slave

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts

Libretto by Owen Hall

Lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross

Music by Sidney Jones

Additional numbers by Lionel Monckton
Produced by George Edwardes at Daly's Theatre, London
June 8th, 1898
For a run of 349 performances
Closing June 2nd, 1899.

About A Greek Slave

A Greek Slave was one of the great Daly's Musicals. The Daly's shows were a series of early musical comedies produced by George Edwardes at Daly's Theatre in London from approximately 1894-1900. During most of this time, Sidney Jones was resident composer and music director at Daly's Theatre, where he composed An Artists Model, The Geisha, A Greek Slave, and San Toy during his tenure. These shows had coherent plots and music specifically composed for the plot of the piece. They were much more like what musical comedy was to become at maturity than their Gaiety Theatre siblings, the more review-like Girl Musicals.

Sidney Jones musical style of brevity and brightness is evident in this fine score, perhaps his most ambitious with 28 numbers comprising some 195 pages of score. It contains some exceptional choral writing and beautifull songs, duets and quartettes.

To the uninitiated, a Musical Comedy of this period — especially those of the Daly's series — are rather indistingushable from operettas. The differences come generally in the form of simpler songs of more common popular forms (ie. music hall), concerted numbers, a looser plot, melodramatic finales, and an inclusion of more popular musical syles such as ragtime syncopation. Since the producer George Edwardes owned the show in it's entirety, it was common at his discretion to have numbers by a different popular composer were often interpolated into a show to reflect his taste and what he felt would appeal to his very broad audience. In the case of A Greek Slave these are numbers by Lionel Monckton, but these interpolations are most obviously written specifically for A Greek Slave.

— Marc Kenig

Updated 18 August 2003