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Merrie England opened at the Savoy Theatre on 2nd April 1902 where it ran for 120 performances until 30th July. The company then went on tour for 14 wweks returning to the Savoy where the opera was again presented from 24th November to 17th January 1903, a further 56 performances.

 

 

 

Publicity for HMV recording
Flyer for HMV recording

The opera deals with love and rivalries at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, a monarch jealous of Sir Walter Raleigh's affection for Bessie Throckmorton, revealed to her by the Earl of Essex. It perpetuates the fiction that the England of Good Queen Bess was actually merry and includes the well known song for the Queen, O peaceful England, and the stirring The Yeomen of England as well as the ballad Dan Cupid hath a Garden.

 

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