Princess Toto is the most ambitious collaboration of Gilbert and Frederic Clay — their other collaborations being Ages Ago, The Gentleman in Black, and Happy Arcadia. It was first produced in Nottingham on 24 June, 1876 and reached London in the autumn of that year, opening at the Strand Theatre on 2 October where it ran for 48 performances. There were performances in America 1879-80 and the piece was revived at the Opéra Comique, where it ran for 65 performances, when that theatre had been vacated by the transfer of Patience to the Savoy Theatre.
The plot of the opera follows the absurd adventures of the impulsive and forgetful Princess Toto, who marries two husbands and joins a mock-brigand band (who are really meek courtiers in disguise) from whom she is lured away by her father, King Portico, and two of his ministers disguised as Red Indians. Confusion is heaped upon confusion until Princess Toto decides which of the two she married her real husband.
- Libretto contributed by Ian Bond
- Vocal Score:
The Vocal Score of Princess Toto exists in two editions: one published in 1876 after the original production with 198 pages and another published after the 1881 revival with 192 pages plus a 17 page appendix (Dating from COPAC Library Catalogue, confirmed by John Sands by reference to advertisments.)
Ian Bond tells us that the main differences between the two editions are: 'In the longer version the number "The Pig with the Roman Nose" is included
as part of the appendix (No:18a) whereas in the shorter version it appears
in the body of the score (No: 19 - there being no appendix). The other
number in the appendix is an alternative version of No:15 "My own, own
There is also a chorus, No. 10a, in Act II in the 1881 score which is not found in the 1876 score.
Arthur Robinson has sent a scan of the earlier score. Unfortunately, Arthur's copy had two pages missing and these have been supplied by John Sands. This may be downloaded as PDF Files:
MIDI files of all the music together with
all the lyrics and dialogue of this opera.
4 February 2012
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