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The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   The Beauty Stone
From the collection of David Stone
From the collection of David Stone

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.

  • Libretto in text format.
  • Web OperaColin Johnson has provided us with MIDI files of all of the music from The Beauty Stone, which we have used to create another of our Web Operas, a G&S Archive exclusive. With all of the music, lyrics, and spoken dialogue, now you can get to know this long forgotten opera.
  • Interviews given by Sullivan at the time of production from the Daily Mail, 17 May 1898 and the Daily News, 25 May 1898.

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