HADDON HALL Light opera in three acts; music by Arthur Sullivan; libretto by Sydney Grundy. Savoy Theatre on September 24, 1892 (204 perfs). The opera, set at the eponymous hall, tells the story of Dorothy Vernon's elopement with John Manners in the 17th century. The piece was popular with amateur theatre groups, particularly in Britain, through the 1920s, but it has been produced only sporadically since then. SYNOPSIS It is 1660, just before the Restoration of the Monarchy. Sir George Vernon, a Royalist, is in a property dispute with his cousin, Rupert Vernon, a Roundhead (i.e., a supporter of Parliament). Sir George fears that this dispute will be resolved in favour of his cousin, who has strong ties to the current government, and that his family would lose Haddon Hall. To secure the estate's long-term future, Sir George has arranged a marriage between Rupert and his only surviving child, Dorothy Vernon. But Dorothy is in love with John Manners, the impoverished second son of the Earl of Rutland. Manners, who is also a Royalist, is of no use to Sir George, and he has forbidden their union. Prologue - The opera begins with an offstage chorus in praise of the "stately homes of England."^pAct I — "The Lovers" - Scene. —The Terrace. It is Dorothy Vernon's wedding day. The Vernons' maid, Dorcas, sings an allegory about "a dainty dormouse" (Dorothy) and "a stupid old snail" (Rupert), making clear that her sympathies lie with Dorothy, who is in love with "a gallant young squirrel" (John Manners). Sir George, Lady Vernon, and Dorothy enter. Sir George urges Dorothy to cheer up, so that she will make a good impression on her cousin, Rupert. Dorothy reminds her father that she loves John Manners. Sir George replies that Manners would be a suitable husband only if he will swear an oath in support of parliament. Dorothy knows that Manners will never do this, and Sir George orders her to marry her cousin. Dorothy asks for her mother's support, but Lady Vernon cannot help her. Oswald enters, disguised as a traveling seller of housewares. He is actually John Manners's servant, carrying a letter for Dorothy. He encounters Dorothy's handmaiden, Dorcas, and the two servants quickly become enamored of one another. When Dorothy appears, Oswald gives her the letter. Manners has proposed that they elope, and Dorothy must finally decide where her loyalties lie. When Manners arrives, Dorothy tells him that her father will not allow them to be married unless he forswears his support for the king. Manners reiterates that he will not compromise his principles, and Dorothy assures him that her love is stronger than ever. Rupert Vernon arrives with his companions, a group of Puritans. He has joined them because their connections to the current government will help him claim the title to Haddon Hall. But he admits that he is otherwise unsympathetic to the Puritan ideals of celibacy and self-abnegation. Rupert introduces the Puritans to the Vernon household, who make it clear they are not welcome. Sir George offers his daughter's hand, but Lady Vernon and Dorothy once again urge him to relent. Dorothy says she must be true to her heart. A furious Sir George orders her to her chamber, and threatens to disown her. Rupert and the Puritans are shocked to learn that they have been refused. ACT II — "The Elopement" Scene 1. — Dorothy Vernon's Door. It is a stormy night. Rupert and the Puritans are camped outside the house, because their conscientious scruples will not allow them to join the party indoors. They are joined by The McCrankie, a particularly strict Puritan from the Isle of Rum, in Scotland, who sings a song accompanied on the bagpipes. However, he is not beyond the occasional snort from his whisky flask, and he offers the Puritans a "drappie." After the rest of the Puritans leave, Rupert and McCrankie sing a duet about how they would rule the world, "if we but had our way." Dorcas enters to meet Oswald, but they intercept her. As no one else is looking, Rupert and McCrankie want to steal a kiss, but Dorcas rebuffs them.