The Mountebanks

Libretto by W. S. Gilbert
Music by Alfred Cellier

First Produced at the Lyric Theatre,
29 January 1892 (229 performances)

Background | Recordings


Scene from the Original Production
Scene from the Original Production

After The Gondoliers, the last great Gilbert and Sullivan success, the collaborators went their separate ways. In 1891, Sullivan produced the only grand opera of his career, Ivanhoe. The following year Gilbert weighed in with his first post-Sullivan opera, The Mountebanks.

The story, in which characters' personalities change after ingesting a magic potion, was essentially the "lozenge plot" that Sullivan had on several occasions refused to set. Cellier died before completing the score, and Gilbert seems to have disliked his own libretto, but the opera enjoyed a good success anyway.


NR 1965 Lyric Theater Company Mono Dial LP CD
NR 1992 Royal Victorian Opera Company Video Abrg VCass

The 1965 recording, which is virtually complete, is today extremely hard to come by. The 1992 video, titled "Put a Penny in the Slot," is a heavily abridged and rewritten version.