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Model modern satire

Gilbert and Sullivan’s best works fit perfectly into the 21st century

By Alexandra Coghlan   May 2013

Opera North’s 2010 production of Ruddigore © Opera North

Gilbert and Sullivan—the very names conjure a sepia world of amateur dramatics in which Britannia still rules the waves with indulgent despotism and where there is still honey for tea. Is there a place for the gentle social comedy of a bygone era in 2013?

“The whole idea of English satire can be traced back through Gilbert,” says Derek Clark, head of music at Scottish Opera, where a new production of The Pirates of Penance is about to open. “If he were alive…

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