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THE GENESIS OF PATIENCE

SARAH MANKOWSKI: I have been trying to piece together the history of Patience, from the meager sources available to me. I offer the following for comment and correction, from those who have researched the subject in greater detail.

Martyn Green, in Martyn Green's Treasury, seems convinced that the original idea for Patience comes from Gilbert's Bab Ballad, The Rival Curates. He mentions an introduction that Gilbert wrote for a new American edition of Patience, in which he says that his original idea was that the rivals should be curates from neighboring parishes.

"But the necessity for protecting [himself] from a charge of irreverence ... becomes a stumbling block.'"

Reading The Rival Curates, I must say that to me, it does read like a first draft of Patience.

ANDREW CROWTHER: Jane Stedman showed, in an article called "The Genesis of Patience", that the opera was intended from the start to be a satire on Aestheticism, but then Gilbert started worrying about whether the chorus could be dressed and made up aesthetically (a financial worry?). So for a time he recast the opera with curates instead of Aesthetes, and Stedman reproduces the MS material from this stage. But then he decided the Curates plot was too hampering, and returned to the Aesthetes. (Personally, I think he was entirely right in this, artistically.

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