I’m a big fan of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, however I haven’t yet performed anything written solely by Sir Arthur. That’s all about to change, as later this week I join my former Gilbert and Sullivan Society at the University of St Andrews for a concert performance of Sullivan’s cantata The Golden Legend!
The libretto revolves around the characters of Prince Henry, Elsie, Ursula and Lucifer. Prince Henry seeks the blood of a willing maiden to cure his affliction, which he finds in Elsie, daughter of Ursula, however Lucifer imposes many an obstacle to bring about disaster along the way…
The music is beautiful, with rich harmonies and use of both English and Latin; it is quite different from any of Sullivan’s collaborations with Gilbert and perhaps reflects Sir Arthur’s intentions to compose operas on a grander scale.
The performance, which will be conducted by Gillian Craig, features a chorus of members of the University’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society, St Andrews Chorus and Holy Trinity Church Choir; accompaniment will be provided by Sean Heath on organ and members of St Andrews Brass. The soloists are all alumni of the University; Emma Rettie as Ursula, Laurie Slavin as Prince Henry, Ben McAteer as Lucifer and myself as Elsie. It’s going to be great fun!
If you’re in St Andrews on Saturday 13 February, do come along to Holy Trinity Church at 7pm for a wonderful evening of this rarely-performed music – and perhaps even treat a classical music fan to an early Valentine’s day gift. We hope to see you there!
“Caroline Taylor gave a sweetly expressive performance as Elsie. ‘The night is calm’, her aria sung on the road to Salerno, is one of the highlights of the score and she delivered it beautifully.” (Iain Fraser, Opera Scotland: http://www.operascotland.org/tour/3532/Golden+Legend+2016)