Ivanhoe, composed by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan to the libretto of Julian Sturgis (based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott) has been traditionally cataloged as a failure, because D’Oyly Carte’s Royal English Opera Company, which produced it, went bankrupt as a result of Ivanhoe closing. But this idea is really far too simplistic, in light of the fact that it actually had, in only the first five months of 1891, 155 performances, a poor record by the standards of Sullivan’s collaborations with Gilbert, but a wild, unheard-of success in terms of grand opera.
Here we present a selection of items related to Ivanhoe.
- The text of a souvenir booklet that was handed out at the one-hundredth performance, with the original illustrations
- The original libretto, as published by Chappell & Co. in 1891. As usual, this is not identical to the text in the printed score; some of the differences clearly represent deliberate changes for musical purposes, but in some cases, I suspect it is to be preferred to the text presented in the 1891 Chappell & Co. score. (I suppose only study of Sullivan’s manuscript and related correspondence, if available, can truly resolve this sort of question.) I have done my best to approximate, as well as HTML can manage it, the chaotic typography of the original, which appears to have been carried out on the assumption that Shakespeare’s First Folio exhibits the very best the compositor’s art has to offer. However, I have indicated a few distributed lines of verse when I felt quite certain of the poet’s intent—the printed text has none at all—and added some obviously missing punctuation, but only within lines intended to be sung.
- The following selections. They are not necessarily representative of the work; with one exception, they are simply the pieces that I have had occasion to transcribe over the last few years. (The Chappell score has long been out of print, and my photocopy of it, what with the 19th-century engraving and the fairly small type, is inconvenient for an accompanist to read.) In particular, no aria for the title character is included; neither are any duets, trios, etc., nor any arias for women, nor any mixed choruses. If I have time, perhaps I can remedy these faults in the future. The piano arrangement is by Ernest Ford, who was one of Ivanhoe’s conductors.
|Act I, scene 1|
|Prelude||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Was hael!||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Drink, drink ye all||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|And so to sleep||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Act II, scene 1|
|Ho! jolly Jenkin||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Act II, scene 2|
|Her southern splendour||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Act III, scene 2|
|Light foot upon the dancing green||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorch|
|Act III, scene 3|
|Fremuere principes||Play MIDI||Display and play Scorchf|