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Les Brigands, libretto by Meillac and Halévy and music by Offenbach, was first produced in Paris in 1869. In 1871, Gilbert was commissioned to produce an English version by Boosey & Co., but whilst he was working on it he learned that Harry Leigh (a fellow contributor to Fun) was also preparing a translation. Gilbert did not attempt to stage his version, insisting that he had adapted it only for copyright purposes. Leigh's version, entitled Falscappa, was produced at the Globe Theatre on 22 April 1871.

In 1889 August Van Biene and Horace Lingard decided to tour the piece in Gilbert's version, ending with a short London season. Boosey's held the copyright, but claimed that the company was supposed to have arranged terms with Gilbert. Gilbert, on the other hand, felt that Boosey had made arrangements with the company without consulting him, and was outraged when he found that Van Biene had interpolated two songs. Gilbert went to court to try and prevent his name being used in conjunction with the London season, but failed.


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