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The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   1924 G&S Season

 Adverting now to the season just concluded, criticism is not easy, because the critical faculty is lulled into inactivity by the general excellence of the works themselves, which immediately compensates any faults that one might find. It is manifestly no good to state which opera is the best, nor even which was the best performed, because opinions differ violently, and in matters of artistic perception argument is productive of nothing more valuable than a headache. It is noticeable, however, that one school of opinion much prefers the more lively Mikado and Gondoliers, while another school considers that Patience is unequalled. And, of course, every amateur society, for some reason, performs the Pirates of Penzance, whether it attempts any of the others or not: Why this is so I cannot fathom. The first act is almost the least interesting first act in any of the operas, though it is redeemed by the song of the Pirate King and by Sullivan's Gilbertian burlesque of Italian opera, which is usually unrecognised and, therefore, inadequately appreciated; while the success of the second act depends greatly, first,upon the proper rendering of the duet between Mabel and Frederic, and, secondly, upon the ability with which the policemen do their work. The duet could hardly be better sung than it was by Miss Elsie Griffin and Mr. Charles Goulding, nor do I wish to see a better sergeant of police than Mr. Leo Sheffield; and how any amateur society—except those singularly fortunate ones that have really first-class talent to draw upon—can venture to emulate these performances I do not know.

Goulding & Griffin Leo Sheffield
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