Government corruption, press intrusion, wholesale privatisation, royal scandals, rampant personal debt… Join us this autumn in Utopia (Limited)!
Following the laid-back inhabitants of a South Sea idyll as they willingly embrace British customs and institutions, Utopia (Limited) was the 13th collaboration of comic opera maestros Gilbert and Sullivan. This wide-ranging and highly prescient satire should have been one of their greatest hits – but instead has been largely forgotten.
The problem was simply that G&S were being too nice to each other while writing it. Never the best of friends, they had always spurred each other on with constructive criticism and a healthy mutual respect – but after an acrimonious four-year falling-out and a wary reconciliation, both were keen to avoid confrontation while also pushing their own agendas. As a result, the opera lost its focus, with its many musical and comedic gems becoming submerged by pomp and padding.
This November we’re making an audio recording of a new edition of Utopia (Limited), which strips back the bloated libretto to highlight the humour while preserving all of Sullivan’s score. Making use of WS Gilbert’s early plot drafts and discarded lyrics, this new edition will be recorded with orchestral accompaniment and made available free of charge worldwide via MusicalTalk – the UK’s independent musical theatre podcast.
We hope that this recording will help to give Utopia (Limited) a new lease of life and encourage more amateur operatic societies to perform the show – do come and be part of it!
The recording will take place on Sundays 19th and 26th November, and we are now rehearsing on Thursday evenings in Lewisham. Auditions for principal roles will be held on Thursday 28th September; there are no auditions for the chorus. The fee for taking part is £40, plus a Centenary Company membership fee of £15 for new members.
For more information, please email centenarycompany@gmail.