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A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan (Paperback)
  • A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan (Paperback)

A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan (Paperback)

Paperback 416 Pages / Published: 02/03/2006
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Written more than a century ago and initially regarded even by their creators as nothing more than light entertainment, the fourteen operas of Gilbert & Sullivan emerged over the course of the twentieth century as the world's most popular body of musical-theater works, ranking second only to Shakespeare in the history of English-language theater. Despite this resounding popularity and proven longevity, most books written about the duo have focused on the authors rather than the works. With this detailed examination of all fourteen operas, Gayden Wren fills the void. His bold thesis finds the key to the operas' longevity, not in the clever lyrics, witty dialogue, or catchy music, but in the central themes underlying the characters and stories themselves. Like Shakespeare's comedies, Wren shows, the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan endure because of their timeless themes, which speak to audiences as powerfully now as they did the first time they were performed. Written out of an abiding love for the Savoy operas, this volume is essential reading for any devotee of these enchanting works, or indeed for anyone who loves musical theater.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195301724
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 581 g
Dimensions: 234 x 155 x 28 mm

"There are a multitude of books about Gilbert and Sullivan...many of them, as [Wren] duly notes, are sketchy or superficial. But no one could fairly throw these adjectives at A Most Ingenious Paradox itself. Mr. Wren argues his case in impressive detail."-The Wall Street Journal
"Wren explores...with authority and brilliance"-Tim Page, The Washington Post
"Wren's book is both a fascinating read and a valuable resource."-American Theatre
"Wren's lengthy and intimate acquaintance with the works as performer, director and teacher allows him to write with affection in an uncluttered style that will please both the general reader and the scholar...Highly recommended." - -Library Journal
"Essential to a full understanding and appreciation of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas...I kept nodding and thinking about most of his conclusions with 'Of course, I should have realized that years ago." - - Brattleboro Reformer
"Wren is an excellent professor of G&S literature and makes an impressive number of points that will absorb (and sometimes annoy) advanced Savoyards."-Opera News
"Wren is a gifted writer and gives his honest views with confidence, providing clear style of presentation, clarity of description and much to get one thinking."-Classical Music Web
"Wren's analyses of The Mikado and The Gondoliers are models of their kind...Sometimes brilliant, occasionally maddening, Wren is almost unfailingly provocative."-Gramophone
"Thoughtful analyses of each of the Savoy operas....a book worth adding to your library."-G&S Bag
"A Most Ingenious Paradox will take its place as an important study of Gilbert & Sullivan as the worlds of music, theater, and scholarship continue (sometimes reluctantly) to evaluate and then acknowledge the Savoy Operas to be the classic works they are."-Ralph MacPhail, Jr., Bridgewater College of Virginia
"A fascinating study for anyone interested in the delightful works of Gilbert & Sullivan as well as the contemporary American musical theatre..."-Recommended Books
"Gayden Wren's book is a worthwhile and long overdue attempt to get to the heart of the Savoy operas. It is thoughtful on many aspects of both words and music."Music and Letters

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