Thespis was the first Gilbert & Sullivan opera. It was premiered at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 26 December, 1871, possibly to the biggest audience of any G&S first night - the Gaiety Theatre, with a capacity of 1500, was filled to standing room. Sullivan told his mother "I have rarely seen anything more beautiful put upon the stage". But the public wasn't yet ready for Gilbert and Sullivan, the piece was badly rehearsed, and it closed after about 80 performances.
Most of the music from Thespis has been lost, although:
The following discussion is a compilation of individual opinions on the opera made by thirty-five subscribers to the SavoyNet mailing list. Most, but not all, of their Internet postings were made during the SavoyNet OOTW (Opera of the Week) series which concentrated on Thespis over the period 5-25 September, 1997.
Highlights of the discussion include:
Download this discussion transcript as a zipped Microsoft Word file (74K file).
Updated 7 Dec 1997