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A Comic Opera in Two Acts.

written by Basil Hood.
music by Arthur Sullivan.
November 29, 1899 - June 28, 1900
(220 performances).

Hassan is a rich philanthropist who entertains beggar-men at his house, much to the dismay of his 25 wives. The Sultana, escaping the strict confines of the royal household, hides in Hassan's house with her three favourite slaves disguised as dancing girls. She is followed by the Sultan, who is bored with his obligations, accompanied by his three top officials. Hassan, while under the influence of the drug bhang, admits to the Sultan that the Sultana is in his house, thus compromising her life and his own. To punish Hassan (and to give himself a little holiday), the Sultan takes him to the palace and commands his court to treat Hassan as if he were sultan.

This is Sullivan's last completed opera.

To the Web Opera

Rose of Persia Web Opera

Another of our very popular series of Web Operas. Includes all of the lyrics and spoken dialogue, and all of the music as MIDI files.

Click to order the recording
  • Libretto in text [129KB] or PDF [266KB] format
  • Ellen Beach Yaw. The part of Sultana Zubeydeh (Rose-in-Bloom) was created by the American soprano Ellen Beach Yaw. She had a remarkable voice and she sang "'Neath my Lattice" in B major — a minor third higher than the version which appeared in the vocal score. This took her up to the F sharp in alt., a semi-tone higher than the highest note given by Mozart to the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.

    Robert Watson has produced a performng version of "'Neath my Lattice" in its original key of B major with the cadenza Sullivan composed specially for Ellen Beach Yaw. You can listen to a MIDI file of the original version and download the score as a PDF File [220 KB].
    At least one reviewer doubted the singer's ability to perform so taxing a number night after night, and in the event Miss Yaw was replaced by Isabel Jay who sang a revised version.

    John Cannon has contributed an article, The Suppressed Saga of Two Savoy Sultanas, describing the circumstances surrounding Miss Yaw's dismissal from the Savoy.

    Elise Curran has sent us a recording, made in December 2005 with the Camerata Santa Dorotea conducted by Robin Gordon-Powell, of her performance of the aria in its original key with the Yaw cadenza. Her performance received an enthusiastic ovation lasting well over a minute! [MP3, 3.20MB]

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