Gilbert & Sullivan

Of Ballads, Songs and Snatches

Lost or seldom recorded

By Stan DeOrsey


What follows identifies original Sullivan music (all with Gilbert) either lost or rarely, if at all, recorded. In some cases, a cut was made by G&S themselves, and the music may or may not be known. In other cases, D'Oyly Carte traditionally has not performed the song or verse. Or, for other reasons, it was simply excluded from recordings. Songs cut prior to being set by Sullivan, as well as dialog changes, are not included.

I have created this list to document in one place the status of missing songs and music, and perhaps at some point to be able to indicate that a piece of music survives which was lost — which happened thrice in recent years with the discovery of the Ballet from Thespis, "Reflect my child" from H.M.S. Pinafore, and the DeBelville song from Iolanthe. But perhaps more importantly, to allow the G&S enthusiast the opportunity of hearing new songs. How often is a person envied for whom a G&S opera is new? Now, perhaps, we can all experience another "first," if only of a single song.

The note symbol Midi denotes a link to an audio midi file from the G&S Archive. Links are also provided to recording details from Marc Shepherd's Discography when there are known recordings.

The changes for this revision are providing links to midi files, adding "Incomplete Operas," noting new recordings, noting recent Thespis findings, and deleting the old change history.

Table of Contents

Thespis The Pirates of Penzance Ruddigore
Popular Songs The Martyr of Antioch The Yeomen of the Guard
Trial by Jury Patience The Gondoliers
Incomplete Operas Iolanthe Utopia Limited
The Sorcerer Princess Ida The Grand Duke
H.M.S. Pinafore The Mikado References


The Thespis score was never published and is lost. Indeed the libretto, which was published, is incomplete. Yet contrary to popular myth, Thespis was successful. Full analysis can be found in the book Thespis, A Gilbert & Sullivan Enigma, by Terence Rees. It has recently been suggested that multiple songs from act one were reused in act one of Pirates of Penzance. Numerous amateur composers have set Gilbert's words, often adapting other Sullivan music. Nevertheless, original excerpts have survived:

  • Climbing over rocky mountain (Chorus) — reused in Pirates of Penzance with slightly altered wording. Recordings exist in Pirates but not of the original words. The Last Night recording includes this piece to represent Thespis, but using the Pirates arrangement which may or may not be the same as Thespis from the point of Edith's solo since it is then no longer the original Thespis copy in the Pirates score.
  • I once knew a chap who discharged a function (song, Thespis) — in September 2002, Selwyn Tillett and Roderic Spencer presented evidence that much of act 1 was reused in Pirates. Their work convincingly shows the music for this song was reused in "I am the very model of a modern Major-General." Their work, including other songs, is fully explained at this Link.
  • Midi Little Maid of Arcadee (song, Sparkeion) — the only song published separately, in 1872 for the piano. Sullivan's full orchestration is lost. Recorded in Donald Adams Sings Sullivan & Gilbert and by Jeffrey Benton in If Doughty Deeds. (Both use the version with some altered wording, as published.)
  • Ballet — discovered in 1990 by Roderick Spencer and Selwyn Tillett, it has been recorded in Sullivan Ballet Music and as additional items on the New D'Oyly Carte Iolanthe
    • No. 1 – Introduction — reused in Victoria and Merrie England Scene II (Festivities on the Village Green)
    • No. 2 – Pas de Chales — reused from L'Ile Enchantee (part of movement No. 2) and reused in Macbeth Act 3 (Prelude, Andante espressivo) and with changes in Victoria and Merrie England Scene 1 (Sacred March of the Druids)
    • No. 3 – Valse — not known to be reused
    • No. 4 – St. George and the Dragon — reused from L'Ile Enchantee (part of movement No. 4) and reused in Victoria and Merrie England Scene III (Friar Tuck and the Dragon)
    • No. 5 – Galop — reused from L'Ile Enchantee (movement No. 12)

Popular Songs

Often overlooked are three popular songs set by Sullivan to words by Gilbert. It is still unclear how much collaboration took place in writing these songs, but at least "The Distant Shore" was completed prior to Trial by Jury.

Trial by Jury

Written in 1873 for Carl Rosa but never set. The most significant changes to Trial by Jury are in stage business, e.g. the Defendant's guitar and the final scene (cupids and red fire). However, three songs did suffer cuts. No overture was ever written. For the 1884 revival, Sullivan added a second cornet, a second trombone and a second flute.

  • When first my old, old love I knew (song, Defendant) — in the original production and for some years afterwards, the defendant accompanied himself on a guitar, for which Sullivan wrote a few bars. These few bars are recorded on the Glyndebourne Trial.
  • When I, good friends, was called to the bar (Song, Judge) — this song ends with a short two verse passage, the second verse begins "It was managed by a job." This second verse was cut apparently before or during the first run. It is crossed out in Sullivan's autograph score and was not published in the first two editions of the vocal score. It was reinstated at one of the 19th century revivals and has remained since. It is in all recordings.
  • Oh, do not blush to shed a tear (ballad, Foreman) — this was apparently set by Sullivan on pages 68 and 69 of the autograph score, but these pages were removed (and lost) prior to binding, and prior to the first night. The words are reproduced in Bradley.
  • Oh, gentlemen, listen, I pray (song, Defendant) — a third verse exists which may have been sung on opening night. The text is reproduced in both Allen and Bradley. It has not been recorded.
  • His Lordship's always quits (song, Usher) — this song was cut before the first night. The words, which may not be complete, are reproduced in Bradley. Based on Sullivan's sketches, it appears that Sullivan reused this setting in The Zoo as "I loved her fondly" (song, Carboy). The music is recorded in The Zoo. Interestingly, the music was also modified and reused as "A wandering minstrel I" in The Mikado.

Incomplete Operas

Kevin Wachs has made the following discoveries and convincingly argued that more took place in the year following the success of Trail by Jury than has previously been documented. While it is possible, perhaps likely, that the following brief summary is not entirely correct, it gives a hint of a time not yet fully understood in the relationship between G & S.

The Bold Burglar (aka The Robbers) — a one-act opera to have opened in March 1876 by D'Oyly Carte. Gilbert apparently wrote most if not all the libretto. It is not clear how much music if any Sullivan composed, but he may have completed sketches.

Never produced as intended, the libretto was used for much of the second act of Pirates of Penzance. It is unknown if any music, or sketches, were similarly used.

The Wedding March opera — a two-act opera to have opened in June 1876 first by Charles Morton then by Fred Sullivan. It appears Gilbert completed much of the libretto, an adaptation of his three-act farce The Wedding March, but it is unclear how much Sullivan composed. He may have composed most of the first act, maybe more, maybe less. Gilbert may have revised this libretto in 1892 as Haste to the Wedding, music composed by George Grossmith. It is not known what happened to Sullivan's music, could some of it be in The Sorcerer?

The Sorcerer

This was the first opera to be revived, in 1884. For the revival, Gilbert and Sullivan together revised the ending of Act 1 and the opening of Act 2, including a new setting for Act 2, more than they changed for any other revival. Other changes have occurred as noted.

  • Overture — for the original run the "Graceful Dance" from Henry VIII was used, preceded by a few bars of "Oh, marvelous illusion". The "Graceful Dance" has been recorded (without the added bars). The overture now associated with the opera was written for the 1884 revival.
  • When he is here (aria, Constance) — the second verse is recorded on the 1966 D'Oyly Carte recording, but not on the earlier ones.
  • In days gone by (ballad, Lady Sangazure) — this ballad appears to have been set and even intended for separate publication, but it is now lost. The words are in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Act 1 Finale — the original Finale included as the ending the full first verse of the Tea-Cup Brindisi including the Trio, but with a few words changed. The full text is not in either Allen or Bradley but is in the first edition vocal score and reprinted in the Sullivan Society booklet for The Sorcerer revival centenary. It has not been recorded.
  • Midi Happy are we in our loving frivolity (chorus) — this opening chorus for Act 2 was replaced for the 1884 revival with the current opening. Truncated versions were recorded on 78 RPM disks for Columbia and Vocalion but neither have been reissued on historical compilations. The words appear in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Have faith in me – thou art my day (ballad, Aline) — this song was cut, possibly before being set by Sullivan, but Gilbert reused much from it in Iolanthe in "None shall part us from each other". The text is in Bradley.
  • Thou hast the power (ballad, Alexis) — the original setting for this ballad was published separately as a part song under the title "It is not love". It was revised prior to (or possibly during) the first run as it is now heard. The early setting has not been recorded.
  • Oh hideous doom (recitative, Mr. Wells) — once the beginning of the second incantation scene which was dropped before the first night, this recitative was dropped in 1884. The words are in Allen but not Bradley. The 1877 Vocal Score includes this as dialog with no vocal line, suggesting that Sullivan never scored it.

H.M.S. Pinafore

The overture as we know it today, was for many years thought to have been written later, possibly for the New York opening in December 1879, but Bruce Miller has shown it was used on opening night. It is the only G&S opera with an Entr'acte, which is original from the first night.

  • Reflect my child (ballad, Captain) — this ballad was cut prior to the first night, but it was set by Sullivan. It was re-discovered by Bruce Miller and Helga Perry in 1998 within original band parts, however the vocal line remains missing. It has been recorded on the New D'Oyly Carte Pinafore. The text is in Bradley but with slight differences from Miller / Perry.
  • Hornpipe — originally both verses of "A British tar" ended with a brief hornpipe. For the 1887 first revival it was changed to be played only after the first verse. The National Musicale Pinafore includes it twice, but apparently much too slow.
  • Here – take her, sir (recitative) — just prior to the finale, this was originally a recitative. It was changed to dialog after the first night. It is recorded on the New Sadler's Wells Pinafore.
  • Act 2 Finale — the last few bars of the opera have been changed, the original is recorded on the New Sadler's Wells Pinafore. More interestingly, these last few bars were altered for the revival in 1887, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Year, by adding Rule Britannia. This apparently was retained into the early part of the twentieth century. It is also recorded on the New Sadler's Wells Pinafore, in addition to the 1908 G&T recording.
  • Selection from HMS Pinafore — Hamilton Clarke arranged selections from Pinafore for Sullivan to conduct at the Covent Garden Promenade Concerts in August and September of 1878 (and repeated in the summer of 1879). This is often credited with reviving interest in Pinafore and thus encouraging new operas by G&S. I do not know if the arrangement has survived; it has not been recorded. Sullivan also conducted similar selections from The Sorcerer in 1878.
  • Children's Pinafore — a production by children aged 10 to 13 was presented in 1879/1880. François Cellier transposed the key of every song to fit each individual child's voice; the choruses necessitated entire rearrangement, especially of the string parts, and in the unaccompanied numbers orchestral accompaniment had to be substituted for the support of male voices. It is not known if the orchestrations have survived.

While clearly outside the scope of this list, if you want a hint of what the early American "pirated" versions of Pinafore may have sounded like, with orchestrations derived from the Vocal Score and not strictly Sullivan, plus a bit of the Broadway sound, then listen to the abridged Victor recording conducted by Emile Coté (reissued by Chris Webster).

The Pirates of Penzance

Pirates has the distinction of having opened in New York a full three months prior to opening in London. While many changes occurred between the two openings, most simply tightened the text. See the libretto in the G&S Archives which hi-lights these changes. A new Act 2 Finale was the most significant musical change. There is recent evidence that music to multiple songs from the first act of Thespis (q.v.) was reused in Pirates, and that the second act is largely derived from the one-act incomplete opera The Bold Burglar.

  • Overture — Sullivan intended to update the overture used in New York for the opening in London. To what extent this was done is not known. However, the overture is long and a shorter version was created by Geoffry Toye in 1919. No recording of this shorter version is known.
  • Oh, here is love, and here is truth (duet, Frederic and Mabel) — second verse and recitative cut after New York opening. The text is in both Allen and Bradley. It has not been recorded.
  • Sighing softly to the river (ballad, General) — the 1968 and 1950 D'Oyly Carte recordings omit half of each verse creating the equivalent of one verse from the two verses. It is included in full on the 1920, 1929, and 1957 recordings, as well as the non-D'Oyly Carte recordings.
  • Act 2 Finale
    • License Copy (possibly Paignton):
      • To Queen Victoria's name we bow (quartet) — only the vocal line survives in the autograph score. It is recorded as "Queen Victoria March" in An Evening with W.S.Gilbert. The text is in Bradley
      • "Hymn to the Nobility" Let foreigners look down with scorn (quartet) — if the music was written, it is now lost. The text is in Bradley.
    • New York:
      • Variation of Major General's patter song – At length we are provided — recorded in Papp (in addition to the normal "Poor wand'ring one" ending). This recording is a reconstruction, the original finale being lost. The text is in both Allen and Bradley (with additional material not used by Papp).
    • London and Later:
      • The New D'Oyly Carte recording includes the "What, all noblemen?...Well, nearly all." reprise from Pinafore, which was dropped in performance around the turn of the century.
  • Children's Pirates — as with Pinafore (q.v.) François Cellier orchestrated Pirates for children. This was during 1884 and was the first revival of Pirates at the Savoy Theatre.

The Martyr of Antioch

This choral work, called a Sacred Musical Drama, was composed for the Leeds Festival of 1880 using a poem written by Henry Hart Milman in 1822. However, Sullivan requested Gilbert's help in adapting the words. In so doing, much text was omitted and some rearranged, occasionally assigning words to different characters. Three songs were altered to rhyme, plus Gilbert actually wrote one song to aid in the flow of the story. A complete recording has been issued.

In 1898 the Carl Rosa Opera Co. presented this work as an opera with changes by Sullivan, including a new finale.

  • Midi Have mercy, unrelenting heaven (quartet) — this is the song [No. 15] Gilbert wrote. It has not been recorded separately but is included on the complete work. (The midi file also contains the preceeding song, start at about 6:04 for this one)

The three songs altered by Gilbert are [No. 2] "Come, Margarita, come;" [No. 8] "Behold in yonder space;" and [No. 10] "See what Olybius' love prepares for thee." Thanks to J.Derrick McClure for a detailed text analysis.


Patience did not experience much change after opening. Even when it was transferred to the new Savoy Theatre, the biggest differences were new sets, which eliminated the lake, and new costumes — both to help show off the new electric lighting.

  • Though men of rank may useless seem (song, Duke) — though cut prior to the first night, the accompaniment is bound in the back of the autograph score, without the vocal line. The text is in Bradley. While the vocal line remains lost, a reconstruction by David Russell Hulme is recorded on the New D'Oyly Carte Patience. There is also a reprise, "I have a goodly prize to give away," prior to the Act 2 Finale, similarly included on this recording.
  • Long years ago (duet, Patience and Angela) — the second verse was cut after opening. The text is in both Allen and Bradley. It has not been recorded.
  • Act 1 Finale, Oh list while we a love confess (ensemble) — was cut in half possibly after the opening, although Rupert D'Oyly Carte indicated this was not scored. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Act 2 Opening, On such eyes as maidens cherish (Chorus) — This is omitted from the D'Oyly Carte recordings except for the last one from 1961. It is also included on the Glyndebourne and New DOC recordings.
  • I'm a Waterloo House young man (Grosvenor, girls) — while the words are unchanged, the original presentation was structured differently. The structure is in Allen and Bradley. I do not know of any recording.


Iolanthe was unique in that it opened in both London and New York on the same night. Except for the overture, the music was the same. Nevertheless a number of songs were cut.

  • Overture — Sullivan was not able to complete the overture in time for the New York opening and asked Alfred Cellier to write one for New York. That version is lost.
  • Five and Twenty years ago (song, Leila) — this song was cut before the opening, but the numbering of songs in band parts indicate it was set by Sullivan. The setting is lost. The text is in Bradley.
  • March of the Peers — Sullivan wrote a second orchestration for military band which was used on opening night by the Grenadier Guards, and is recorded in the 1960 D'Oyly Carte recording.
  • On you they'd set a cornet (couplets, Chancellor, Phyllis, Tolloller, Mountarat, Peers)—the two line recitative prior to this is set in the autograph score then there are missing pages, so it does appear to have been set. Indeed Gilbert's prompt book contains complicated blocking which may have contributed to it being cut. The text is in Bradley.
  • Unidentified incidental music — A contemporary article by Frederick Archer indicates Cellier also wrote "some charming original melodramatic music at the request of the composer." The music is lost, but Bruce Miller suggested the possibility it might have been background for "Every Bill and every measure" or the opening of Act 1 or the introduction to the Act 1 Finale.
  • Fear no unlicensed entry (ballad, Private Willis) — there is no evidence that this song was actually set by Sullivan, however it is only known from Gilbert's book Songs of a Savoyard under the title "Sleep on." It is not included in Bradley, or Allen.
  • My love for him is dead (ballad, Phyllis) — another song cut prior to the first night. It is not known how far Sullivan progressed on setting it. The text is in Bradley.
  • DeBelville was regarded as the Crichton of his age (song, Mountararat) — this song was sung in New York but recited by Barrington in London, then it was cut. The music is lost except for the first violin part, discovered in 2000 by Miller and Perry, which only displays the rhythm. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • I dislike you both extremely! Boo, hoo (trio, Phyllis, Mountararat, Tolloller) — this song was cut apparently before October 20 (1882) as Sullivan's diary indicates Act 2 was finished except for the new quartet which replaced this song. It seems this song may have been sketched if not composed, but it is lost. Miller and Perry believe that the overture, letter N in the vocal score, is likely from this. The text is in Bradley.
  • Midi Fold your flapping wings (song, Strephon) — this song was cut soon after opening but the music survives and has been recorded in the New D'Oyly Carte Iolanthe. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • A fairy once, as well you know (Heigho, love is a thorn) (song, Perola [Iolanthe]) — according to Sullivan's diary, this song was sketched on October 4 (1882), and again Act 2 was completed by October 20. It is not known when this was cut but it was prior to the first night. Whatever existed for the music is lost. The text is in Bradley.

Princess Ida

Gilbert borrowed much of the dialog from his earlier play The Princess, however he did not carry any of the songs over to this new opera. Princess Ida was not revived in London until 1919, though it had remained on tour. For this opera many changes were incurred after both Gilbert and Sullivan had died. These include rearranging the Act 3 song sequence in the 1920's, then text cuts in the 1950's.

The overture is very short, only longer then Utopia, which in part may be attributed to Sullivan's illness prior to the opening. However it is labeled an Introduction and was intended to continue immediately to the opening chorus of what was called the Prologue, now the first act.

  • Perhaps if you address the lady (duet, Gama and Hildebrand) — Sullivan reused his hymn "Litany, No. 3" (Be Thou with us everyday) for this song.
  • Midi Come mighty Must (song, Lady Blanche) — this song has been traditionally cut by D'Oyly Carte but it was recorded in their 1924 Ida and is included in the Art of the Savoyard (vol. 1, not the CD), plus the Ohio Light Opera Ida.
  • If we discharged our duty clear (quintet) — this quintet was replaced by "The woman of the wisest wit" two weeks before opening while Sullivan finished scoring. The music is lost, the text is in Bradley.
  • Oh! save her, sir! (melodrame) — the background music for Princess Ida falling in the stream is recorded in the 1955 D'Oyly Carte Ida. and the Ohio Light Opera Ida.
  • I built upon a rock (song, Princess) — one week before opening, this song was rewritten by Gilbert, Sullivan then rewrote the music. The original music is lost, the original text is in Bradley.
  • Whene'er I spoke (song, King Gama) — just prior to the first night, the tune for this song was "altered" and the third verse was changed. George Grossmith is reported to have found it difficult to make the change. But we do not know what the music change was, the text change is in Bradley.
  • Where'er we go (song, Arac) — this song was replaced by "This helmet, I suppose" shortly before opening. The music is lost, the text is in Bradley.

The Mikado

Reginald Allen called The Mikado "the most valuable stage property in the world". It is indeed special. The most significant changes are the acceptance into the libretto by Gilbert in 1908 of many of Rutland Barrington's gags.

  • As some day it may happen (song, Ko-Ko)
    • the words to this song are altered in many productions, even Gilbert altered them. In 1908 he wrote a new verse to be used for encores, the text is in Bradley. I do not know of any recording.
    • On the first night, this song occurred later in Act 1 with some minor wording difference, but also with a longer refrain after each verse. The music for the refrain is apparently lost, although some may exist in the introduction to the first verse. The words are in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted (duet, Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo) — this duet was restructured after the first night, words were changed, phrases moved, and some cuts were made to compress it substantially. The text is in both Allen and Bradley. The original is recorded in the New D'Oyly Carte Mikado as well as the C&B Productions first night Mikado.
  • The flowers that bloom in the spring (duet, Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko) — the autograph score contains a setting marked "2nd Encore" for this song. It is reported that in September 1885 while in New York, Sullivan wrote a special orchestration to be used by George Thorne as an encore done in pantomime. Apparently this is it. Since it is part of the autograph score, it may have been more generally used than by just Thorne. The 1938 Mikado film includes an encore verse which incorporates the bassoon solo from this "2nd Encore".
  • On a tree by a river a little tom-tit (song, Ko-Ko) — the earliest recordings include a falsetto cadenza, although many differ from each other. It is not clear if Sullivan desired this or even if it was sung this way on stage, but the preponderance of recordings at least suggests the possibility he did. The style is so different from modern deliveries it seems worth noting here as a significant change. Recordings are by Walter Passmore (he played Ko-Ko in the revivals from 1895 to 1897), recorded in 1907 for Odeon (included in Art of the Savoyard) and in 1912 on Mikado Miscellany; and by Charles Workman (he played Ko-Ko in the 1908 revival) recorded in 1910 on Sir Arthur Sullivan Vol. 2. The 1906 G&T Co. (also in Art of the Savoyard) recording with Stanley Kirkby is sung with a high pitch whistle! (Apparently there are other recordings with a whistle). The complete recordings of 1917 with George Baker and 1926 with Henry Lytton include it only for the second verse.
  • fanfare following "There is beauty in the bellow of the blast" — this fanfare is included in the D'Oyly Carte 1957 and 1973 recordings.
  • Ballet — in December 1889, Sullivan sent a ballet score to Brussels for use in their French production of The Mikado. It is not known what the Ballet consisted of or if any was new.


Ruddigore has undergone more changes than any other G&S opera. After the first night, Gilbert and Sullivan cut both songs and dialog, particularly from Act 2, including the second return of the ancestors. The first revival was not until 1920 at Glasgow, at which time D'Oyly Carte (DOC) cut a great deal more.

The New Sadler's Wells (NSW) Ruddygore recording is especially significant due to the number of cuts it restores. Plus it excludes many "minor" changes attributed to D'Oyly Carte Musical Directors Harry Norris and Geoffrey Toye.

  • Overture — for the 1921 opening in London, Geoffrey Toye wrote a new overture omitting references to cut songs. The original overture is recorded on D'Oyly Carte's 1962 Ruddigore (as an entr'acte) and on the NSW Ruddygore.
  • This sport he much enjoyed (chorus, Bridesmaids) — this chorus within "Sir Rupert Murgatroyd" was dropped in 1920 by DOC but it is included in most recordings including the NSW Ruddygore. However it is not included on the the 1950 and 1962 D'Oyly Carte recordings.
  • The battle's roar is over (duet, Richard and Rose) — this duet was sometimes dropped by DOC but it is included on many full recordings (it is excluded from the 1931 and 1950 D'Oyly Carte recordings).
  • If well his suit has sped (Bridesmaids) — this chorus is omitted from the 1962 D'Oyly Carte recording, it is included on the other full recordings.
  • Welcome, gentry (chorus) — the first Bridesmaids chorus was cut by half soon after the first night. It has not been recorded. The text is in Allen and Bradley.
  • Hail the bride of seventeen summers (chorus) — the chorus for the bucks was cut by half soon after the first night. It has not been recorded. The text is in Allen and Bradley.
  • I once was as meek as a new-born lamb (duet, Robin and Adam) — this duet originally had another set of verses which were cut soon after the first night as part of eliminating the name Gideon Crawle. It has been recorded by Leon Berger in The Grossmith Family Album. The text is in Allen and Bradley.
  • Happily coupled are we (duet, Richard and Rose) — the second verse sung by Rose was cut in 1920 by DOC. It is include in the NSW Ruddygore as well as in Valerie Masterson and Robert Tear Sing G&S.
  • In bygone days I had thy love (ballad, Rose) — the second verse was cut soon after the first night. The text is in both Allen and Bradley. It has not been recorded.
  • March of the Ancestors — Gilbert did not like this and it was cut before opening. It is included towards the beginning of the "Painted emblems" number in the NSW Ruddygore.
  • By the curse upon our race (chorus of Portraits) — an extended portion of "Painted emblems of a race", it was cut soon after the first night. It is included as part of the "Painted emblems" number in the NSW Ruddygore. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Midi For thirty-five years I've been sober and wary (song, Robin) — this patter song was cut soon after the first night, and was replaced by "Henceforth all the crimes ..." It is recorded in the NSW Ruddygore. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Midi Henceforth all the crimes that I find in the Times (song, Robin) — was cut by DOC in 1920 with the accompanying recitative ("Away Remorse!"). The recitative is included in the NSW Ruddygore, and the patter song is included on the Sullivan Society cassette Mr. George Grossmith's Humorous & Musical Recital. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Midi melodrame — This background music is only recorded in the NSW Ruddygore.
  • Midi When a man has been a naughty baronet (Finale) — known as the Basingstoke finale, in 1920 DOC replaced it with the Act 1 ending chorus of "Oh, happy the lily" including the dance. The original is recorded on NSW Ruddygore with the four stanzas in the sequence Rose, Robin, Richard, Sir Despard / Margaret. It is also included on some 78 rpm band music and vocal gem issues. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.

The Yeomen of the Guard

The Yeomen of the Guard today is basically the same musically as during its first run, and no major changes were made at the early revivals. However a number of songs have had words or phrases added or dropped. The ending remains open to interpretation.

  • Midi When jealous torments rack my soul (song, Wilfred) — this song was cut before the opening after Rutland Barrington announced he would leave the company. The music survives from the score used for the New York opening (2 weeks after London) and has been recorded on Pearl's Sullivan and by the NDOC. The text is in Bradley.
  • Midi A laughing boy but yesterday (song, Meryll) — this song was left in for the first night for Richard Temple and then dropped. It is recorded on the DOC 1979 Yeomen, NDOC, and Pearl's Sullivan. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Is life a boon? (ballad, Fairfax) — Sullivan is reported to have made 3 settings of this ballad. One in 6/8 time survives and has been recorded on Pearl's Sullivan and the NDOC.
  • music over dialog preceding "I have a song to sing O" — this brief passage is recorded by D'Oyly Carte with the dialog only on their 1979 Yeomen, other non-DOC also include it. Earlier DOC recordings include the music but not the dialog.
  • How say you maiden, will you wed (trio, Elsie, Point, Lieutenant) — this trio has undergone many minor changes, see Allen or Bradley for the original text. It is not clear when the changes were made but certainly early, maybe even before the first night. No recordings have been made.
  • Finale of Act 1 (couplets, 3rd and 4th Yeomen, Fairfax) — couplets for the 3rd and 4th Yeomen plus a second verse for Fairfax were cut just prior to the opening. They were however recorded on the NDOC and Mackerras as well as on the 1907 Pathé. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.

The Gondoliers

After initial adjustments, The Gondoliers has remained rather stable. Gilbert altered words and phrases as was his custom. And in 1907, as he would do with The Mikado, Gilbert incorporated into the libretto a number of Rutland Barrington gags.

Interestingly, Helen Carte adapted many word changes for an American audience, apparently in New York for the revised re-opening on February 18, 1890 — it is not clear if Gilbert ever endorsed these changes. See Bradley for text details (which he dates to the "1900s").

  • Overture — the original "overture" was written as an Introduction. In 1929, Dr. Malcolm Sargent appended the "Cachucha" to the end. This extended overture is recorded on the D'Oyly Carte 1950 and 1961 recordings and on the Naxos CD; most other recordings use the original version.
  • Thy wintry scorn I dearly prize (ballad, Luiz) — this song was replaced by the duet "Ah, well-beloved," reusing some of the words, during the first week. The original scoring is lost. The text is in both Allen and Bradley.
  • Bridegroom and bride (chorus) — the second verse was dropped and some words changed. It has not been recorded. The text is in Allen and Bradley.
  • Act 1 Finale — Marco's ending solo as well as the final chorus were twice as long. They were shortened before and again after the first night. It has not been recorded. See Bradley for the full text.
  • A pleasanter kind of surprise (quartet, Gianetta, Tessa, Marco, Giuseppe) — this brief quartet was scored but cut before the first night. It has not been recorded. The text is only in Bradley.
  • There lived a King, as I've been told (song, Don Alhambra, Marco, Giuseppe) — at the line "Of shoddy, up goes the price of shoddy", Sullivan included a few bars of Yankee Doodle Dandy. It is not clear when this was dropped. I no not know of any recording.
  • Till time shall choose (quintet, Marco, Giuseppe, Casilda, Tessa, Gianetta) — Sullivan did score this quintet but it was replaced before the first night with "Here is a case unprecedented". The setting is lost. The text is in Bradley.

Utopia, Limited

The autograph score for Utopia is lost, or more specifically it was donated by Herbert Sullivan to a Red Cross Sale held at Christie's in April 1915 and sold for 50 guineas to a Mr. Hudson — it has not been seen since. The overture, called an Introduction, was not published with the vocal score and has frequently been reported as lost — this is not true. The original overture exists and is included on the recordings mentioned below. Utopia was not revived by D'Oyly Carte until 1975 and then inexplicably for only 5 performances.

The major recording is the 1976 D'Oyly Carte recording. Pearl Records issued one by the Lyric Theater which also contains the dialog, and Newport Classics issued Utopia with dialog by the Ohio Light Opera.

  • A King of autocratic power we (song, King and chorus) — the second verse was cut to shorten the first act, and is not recorded by D'Oyly Carte, it is recorded by the Lyric Theater and Ohio Light Opera. The text is in Allen and Bradley, plus the Chappell vocal score.
  • Ah! gallant soldier, brave and true (duet, Zara and Fitzbattleaxe) — this duet was restructured and shortened after the first night. The shorter version is recorded by D'Oyly Carte, the longer version by Lyric Theater and Ohio Light Opera. The original text is in Allen and Bradley, plus the Chappell vocal score.
  • Youth is a boon avowed (song, Zara) — this song was cut prior to the opening, but Nancy McIntosh was allowed to sing it on the first night. The text is in Allen, Bradley, and Wolfson. The music is lost.
  • Flourish — follows "Upon our sea-girt land," this is not in the D'Oyly Carte recording. One is recorded by Lyric Theater but it is NOT Sullivan's work. One is also recorded by Ohio Light Opera.
  • Act 2 Finale — four versions of the finale were actually set. As originally written, Sullivan had difficulty with Gilbert's meter and declined to set it. The first setting was a major exception to their usual process, Sullivan wrote the music first and Gilbert then wrote words. The text for this setting is in Wolfson but the music is lost. Still not satisfied, Gilbert wrote another version, the text of which is in Allen, Bradley, and Wolfson. It was set to "First Life Guards" and was used on opening night. Finally, the original words were much cut back, and Sullivan set them — this is on all recordings. There was one more setting, it was based on "Eagle high" but only the soprano vocal line is known — from Nancy McIntosh's rehearsal book. It is not clear where this version fits chronologically.

It is possible Sullivan actually set additional songs, many were cut while Sullivan composed. See Final Curtain by John Wolfson for details.

The Grand Duke

As we all know, The Grand Duke was the end of the line for G&S. It closed at the Savoy on July 10, 1896 although it continued in the D'Oyly Carte touring companies until April 1897 and then it ended. D'Oyly Carte never performed this opera outside of the British Isles. Soon after the first Savoy performance, Sullivan left for France and Gilbert independently cut three numbers: "Come, bumpers – aye ever so many", "Take my advice when deep in debt", and "Well, you're a pretty kind of fellow". However each of these remained in Sullivan's score and were published in the vocal score and subsequently recorded by D'Oyly Carte. The opera was never revived by D'Oyly Carte, but during the Centenary season, it was presented in a concert version on April 5, 1975 (minus two of Gilbert's cut songs!)

Very little has been recorded professionally from Grand Duke beyond the 1976 D'Oyly Carte recording. Pearl Records did issue a recording by the Cheam Operatic Society.

  • As o'er our penny roll we sing (duet, Baroness and Rudolph) — this duet was cut by about half shortly after opening, probably by Gilbert alone though the history is not clear. The shorter version is recorded by D'Oyly Carte. The full text is in Allen and Bradley, plus the Chappell vocal score.
  • When you find you're a broken-down critter (song, Rudolph) — this song was not cut and is recorded, but it is interesting to note that Gilbert originally wrote it for The Mountebanks with music by Alfred Cellier. Cellier died before orchestrating this and it was cut, although he did complete the piano scoring. It is reused here with some text changes.
  • Big bombs, small bombs, great guns and little ones! (duet, Rudolph and Ludwig) — a large portion of this duet was cut and is not in the D'Oyly Carte recording. The text is in Allen and Bradley, plus the Chappell vocal score. This too was probably cut by Gilbert, but again the history is not clear.
  • Ah, pity me, my comrades true (song, Julia) — this song was also shortened and is recorded by D'Oyly Carte in the shorter version. The full version is in Allen and Bradley, plus the Chappell vocal score. As with the others, Gilbert probably cut this but history is not clear.
  • But half an hour ago (quartet, Julia, Baroness, Elsa [Lisa], Ludwig) — only a few bars of this song survive in the autograph score, but it does show that the song was set. It was cut well before opening night.

As with Utopia, it is possible Sullivan actually set additional songs, at least 3 were cut while Sullivan composed. See Final Curtain by John Wolfson for details.


  • Allen, Reginald, The First Night Gilbert and Sullivan, 1958
  • Bradley, Ian, The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan, 1996
  • Wolfson, John, Final Curtain, The Last Gilbert and Sullivan Operas, 1976
  • The Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, booklets produced for The Sorcerer and Trial by Jury, 1984, Iolanthe, 1982 Princess Ida, 1984; The Mikado, 1985; Ruddygore, 1987; The Yeomen of the Guard, 1988, Utopia, Limited, 1993; and The Grand Duke, 1996.
  • CD liners, particularly New Sadler's Wells HMS Pinafore and Ruddygore.
  • Vocal scores — the first American editions (any printing) often contain many changes in the text, more than you might have expected, and more than Bradley identifies.
  • "Reflect, my child," Broude Brothers Limited, a full score with complete article and critical apparatus (vocal score and band parts also available)
  • The Reward of Merit?, an examination of the suppressed "De Belville" song in Iolanthe, Helga Perry & Bruce Miller, Sir Arthur Sullivan Society.

I wish to thank Stephen Turnbull, Marc Shepherd, and especially Philip Sternenberg for reviewing this work and providing helpful comments. The late Bruce Miller reviewed the first version providing much detail.

Additions or corrections may be sent to Stan DeOrsey (


Oct. 2003