Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



DAVID CRAVEN: I also agree that Ludwig's and Lisa's waltz at the end of the opening chorus is the first item to be cut. The lyrics are definitely not PC. (Politically Correct)

ANDREW CROWTHER: Aren't they? Surely the point of them is to show how unfair it is to expect Lisa to bear the brunt of Ludwig's insults blindly, dumbly, deafly. And it occurs to me, looking at the lines, that there's a typical Gilbertian paradox in saying that Lisa should be so utterly passive and then concluding with the lines: "Thus and thus and thus alone/Ludwig's wife may hold her own!" In reality she could only "hold her own" by giving as good as she got. Gilbert wasn't quite the unthinking male chauvinist he's often made out to be.

(Not to say this Chorus is a great masterpiece from Gilbert's point of view: I always wince at the rhyme "leftly/deafly".)

J. DERRICK McCLURE: The notion that the Ludwig-Lisa duet should be cut because it's not "PC" is bunk - one of the daftest examples I've seen on the Savoynet of the crazy things folk can say and do when they let perverse modern ideas of propriety eclipse their historical sense, their artistic sense, and even their common sense. That said, I must acknowledge that the treatment of Lisa makes me just a bit uneasy: surely Ludwig, to whom she's patently devoted, could show some consideration for her feelings? As she sings in one of the "lost" songs:

Alas, poor Ludwig's fate!
Although I was his flame,
He put me by
With scarce a sigh,
To yield to Julia's claim.
And note - she's sorry for Ludwig, who has treated her quite callously, and has not a word of reproach for him! Gilbert restores the balance at least partially by making Ludwig sing, in the same number,
I'm not, mayhap,
As clever a chap
As I supposed I was!
If only that had been kept in!

BRUCE I. MILLER: If the criterion for cutting G&S lyrics is that they are "not PC", how much would be left of Princess Ida - or for that matter, of passages in any of the operas which touch on PC-sensitive topics?

This particular passage happens to be one of the defining moments in Grand Duke, as it announces the stylistic departure taken by the authors from their previous work (aside from being fun and attractive). It is one of those musical moments which ought to be retained in any reworking of Grand Duke.

NEIL ELLENOFF: This sounds very interesting, Bruce, if you have the patience I love to hear more.

MARC SHEPHERD: I'm sure Bruce'll pipe in, but I suspect he's referring to the number's Viennese Operetta style.

Page created 22 March 1998