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The Beauty Stone, which Sullivan composed to a libretto by Arthur Wing Pinero and J. Comyns Carr opened at the Savoy Theatre on 18 May 1898 where it ran until 16 July, a total of 50 performances. It was the longest Savoy opera, lasting over four hours on opening night. In its original version, it required a cast of 21 principals.
The Devil comes to Mirlemont, a fifteenth century Flemish village, bearing with him a stone which, when worn around the neck, conveys upon the wearer perfect beauty. He gives it to Laine, the crippled daughter of Simon Limal, the village weaver. She becomes beautiful and wins the top honours at a local beauty contest organized by Philip, Lord of Mirlemont. Philip has recently returned from war in the Middle East, bringing with him Saida, a Mediterranean beauty whose charms are beginning to fade. Saida plots to steal the beauty stone, and when Laine, disgusted at Philip's dissolute behavior, throws the stone away to be picked up by her father, Saida schemes to wheedle it away from him.
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