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The Grand Duke

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Arthur Sullivan


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The Grand Duke Synopsis


The Grand Duke Libretto


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About the opera The Grand Duke

The Grand Duke; or, The Statutory Duel, is the final Savoy Opera written by librettist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan, their fourteenth and last opera together. It premiered at the Savoy Theatre on March 7, 1896, and ran for 123 performances. The production was the partnership's only financial failure, and the two men never worked together again.
In The Grand Duke, Gilbert and Sullivan come full circle, back to the theme of their first collaboration, Thespis: a troupe of actors taking political power. The plot hinges on the mis-interpretation of a 100 year-old law regarding statutory duels (decided by drawing cards). The baffled central character, Ludwig, becomes engaged to four different women before the plot is resolved. The frugality and phoniness of the wealthy classes and the nobility is lampooned — once again, as in Princess Ida, The Mikado, The Gondoliers, and Utopia, Limited, the foreign setting emboldened Gilbert to use some particularly pointed satire here.
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Roles in The Grand Duke

Rudolph Baritone
Ernest Dummkopf Tenor
Ludwig Baritone
Dr. Tannhäuser Baritone
The Prince of Monte Carlo Baritone
Viscount Mentone Spoken
Ben Hashbaz
Herald Baritone

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