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: Edinburgh (Theatre Royal), 21 August 1876.

Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 14 May 2025.



Trial by Jury is the earliest of the combined works of Gilbert and Sullivan to survive (Thespis is a long  lost mystery). It 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).

Its first appearance in Scotland was in a company run by Emily Soldene.  She specialised in performing French operettas, and negotiated a deal with Richard D'Oyly Carte to add the Sullivan work to her national tour.  In Edinburgh it preceded Offenbach's Madame L'Archiduc.  On a later tour in Dundee its companion was another popular Offenbach work, Genevève de Brabant - remembered now for the famous ''Gendarmes' Duet''.


Main Characters

Learned Judge (baritone)

Usher (bass)

Counsel (baritone)

Edwin, the Defendant (tenor)

Angelina, the Plaintiff (soprano)


Plot Summary

In a London court-room, the spectators assemble to witness a case in which Angelina is suing Edwin for breach of promise. He had proposed marriage to her, but finding an alternative 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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