|Sullivan > Major Works > The Beauty Stone > Notes on the text
by Clifton Coles
The libretto of The Beauty Stone used here is an early one, possibly corresponding to the text used on opening night. Other editions are decidedly shorter, the major excisions being verses for Barbe and Isabeau in the beauty pageant scene and two songs: a trio ("'Tis she! 'tis she! our little Laine" in Act II, scene 2) and a duet ("Up and down" in Act II, scene 3). These numbers were performed on opening night. The review in The Times mentions two duets for the Devil and Jacqueline as opposed to the one published, as well as solos for all three principal beauty contestants instead of for only one (Loyse) as at present. The vocal score corresponds with the later edition of the libretto, the same musical sections being omitted.
There are many instances where lyrics differ between the vocal score and the libretto. Some of these discrepancies are completely arbitrary and may derive from the composer working from an earlier text or from changes made after the printing of the source libretto. In most instances where rhyme or reason is unaffected, the vocal score's words have been chosen.
The Beauty Stone was one of the earliest Sullivan (non-Gilbert) operas blessed with a recording. A Pavilion Records set by the Prince Consort and chorus of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Edinburgh was released in 1984. The recording is more or less complete, omitting as it does all material inconsistent with the opera's second version (that is, the two songs and the beauty pageant verses mentioned above).
The recording also includes a march corresponding with Philip's first entrance in Act I, scene 2, following the repeat of the chorus "The bells are ringing o'er Mirlemont town." The march is not included in the vocal score or the piano score, nor does the chorus itself appear at this point in either. The libretto, however, supports "background music" at this point, and the chorus may have made up the first portion of the march, as the music on the recording corresponds to these words.
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