The Gondoliers – by Gilbert & Sullivan
(Sydney Opera House) -
Directed by Stuart Maunder

A cast of singing-dancing performers; starring Reg Livermore, Judi Connelli and John Bolton Wood.  
Stephen Mould and Brian Castles-Onion share the conducting of this Opera Australia favourite.   

A sparkling, melodic, romantic and entertaining story with twists and turns that keeps you in suspense of what the end will bring… - AusNotebook Music & Creative

The Gondoliers
, (also known as The King of Barataria) is the twelfth Opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. Following its debut on 7th December, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre, London, The Gondoliers played for 554 performances. Nearly a century later, on February 6, 1989 The Gondoliers was performed at the Sydney Opera House.
The Gondoliers
recently returned to the Opera House and played a entertaining season from
18th September, 2007 till closing curtains on the 3rd November, 2007.


The Gondoliers satirises snobbery and class distinctions. Regardless of it’s age and historical style opera, the play brings elements of the more recent day themes by cleverly parallelling the ‘wall flowers’ status by presenting fair maidens pining for a husband.  It also highlights the bickering and wise cracks between a long time married couple and includes current issues, such as “horse flu” which is cleverly referenced into the play.   

The Australian version displays scenes of brilliant dancing, especially at the Ball, where dancers skilfully partner large rag dolls puppets.  The set is beautifully designed and the costumes are amazing, wonderful and bright displaying reference to the era.  The play has light-hearted and entertaining music with memorable melodies, which are sometimes humorous and other times sad.
  The Gondoliers Production - Judi Connelli (The Duchess of Plaza-Toro) & Reg Livermore (The Duke of Plaza-Toro).
Judi Connelli (The Duchess of Plaza-Toro) & Reg Livermore (The Duke of Plaza-Toro) -  The amusing bickering between the two gave the audience much laughter

The opening scene begins with love struck young maidens waiting for the two gondoliers, brothers Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri. Two of the lucky maidens are chosen by the two gondoliers who are blind folded in a game of blind man’s buff.  Soon the Venetian gondoliers are married.

Not long after, the pompous Grand Inquisitor informs the recent wedded men that one of them has become the “King of Barataria”. But which one of them?  Only the nurse entrusted with the young Prince’s care, at the time of the abduction, will be able to identify the new King.

In the final act, the two Venetian wives each challenge for the role of Queen. Both are unaware of Casilda’s existence. The identity of the King is revealed, followed by a comedy of unravelling truths for our two gondoliers, their wives, and royal family. Barataria’s problems are solved and celebrations begin for our happy ever-after ending.

Article written by Chrissy Layton
- AusNotebook Music & Creative

Photos courtesy of Opera Australia

The Gondoliers Production - Robert Bertram (Giuseppe Palmieri) & Kanen Breen (Marco Palmieri).
Robert Bertram (Giuseppe Palmieri) & Kanen Breen (Marco Palmieri)

Conductor – Stephen Mould (to 17 Oct)
                  – Brian Castles-Onion (from 18 Oct)

Director Stuart Maunder (Based on the original production by Brian MacDonald)

Set & Costumes – Susan Benson

Lighting Designer – Jonathan Perry
Choreographer Elizabeth Hill
(Based on the original choreography by
Brian MacDonald)

Assistant Director – Elizabeth Hill

Sound Designer – John O’Donnell

Opera Australia Chorus
Chorus Master – Michael Black
Assistant Chorus Master – Kate Golla
Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
Principal 1st Violin Adrian Keating & Tony Gault
Music Staff Phoebe Briggs & Kate Johnston
  Duke of Plaza-Toro – Reg Livermore
Duchess of Plaza-Toro – Judi Connelli
Don Alhambra – John Bolton Wood
Casilda – Natalie Jones
LuLuiz – Andrew Brunsdon (to 19 Oct)
            – Laurence Meikle (from 24 Oct)
Gianetta – Taryn Fiebig
Tessa – Dominica Matthews
Marco Palmieri – Kanen Breen
Giuseppe – Robert Bertram
Fiametta – Annabelle Chaffey      
Inez – Adele Johnston
Giulia – Vanessa Lewis
Francesco – David Lewis
Antonio – Charlie Kedmenec
Giorgio – Andrew Moran
Vittoria – Margaret Plummer
Annibale – Robert Mitchell


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