The Chieftain
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Notes on the Libretto

by Clifton Coles

Four sources have been mined for the libretto in the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive: two editions of the libretto and two editions of the vocal score, published by Boosey and Co., 1894-95. Both editions of the vocal score and the earlier edition of the libretto are available in the microforms collection English Drama of the Nineteenth Century.

There are certain difficulties in arriving at a working text because of the disparities between these sources. In general, however, dialogue, stage directions, and punctuation are taken from the later edition of the libretto. Some of these have been retained from the earlier edition, but only for the sake of clarity or humor.

Major changes between the two versions of the vocal score are noted passim. They include the replacement of Inez's entrance song "Let others seek the peaceful plain" and cutting the ensemble "Wanted a Chieftain" and the choral Angelus. An appendix is provided for the lyrics to Inez's "My parents were of great gentility" and for Burnand's extensive notes for "La Criada."

In addition, a song for Rita was written to replace her ballad "The tinkling sheep-bell knells the parting day" ("Only the night wind sighs"). This number was never published and there is certain doubt as to whether it was ever performed. This song is not included here.

- Clifton Coles

Page created 26 October 2003