Opera Scotland

Trial By Jury

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Arthur Sullivan (born London, 13 May 1842; died London, 22 November 1900)


William S Gilbert




First Performance: London (Royalty Theatre), 25 March 1875.

First Performance in Scotland: to be confirmed.

Scottish Opera première: N/A.


Trial By Jury is the earliest of the combined works of Gilbert and Sullivan to survive, and is a delightfully frivolous piece, through-composed (without any spoken dialogue), and over in not much more than half an hour. It was commissioned by Richard D'Oyly Carte for use as a curtain-raiser, to start the evening's entertainment, the main element of which was to be Offenbach's La Périchole. According to legend, it's popularity quickly outshone the main work (even though that is still regarded as one of the French master's greatest operettas).

Main Characters

Learned Judge (baritone)

Usher (bass)

Counsel (baritone)

Edwin, the Defendant (tenor)

Angelina, the Plaintiff (soprano)

Plot Summary

In a London courtroom, the spectators assemble to witness a case in which Angelina is suing Edwin for breach of promise. He had proposed marriage to her, but then changed his mind. He considers this an entirely reasonable course of action, but Angelina's personal charms make it difficult for him to prosecute his case, given the opposition of Angelina's Counsel, the Usher, the Jury (all male in those days), and eventually the Judge himself.

The Cast

 for the Plaintiff
First Bridesmaid
 of the Jury
Learned Judge

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