Shows P

PATIENCE or Bunthorne's Bride Music by Arthur Sullivan: Lyrics and Libretto by W.S. Gilbert Opéra Comique, London - 23 April, 1881 subsequently at the Savoy Theatre, 10 October, 1881 THE STORY (Exterior of Castle Bunthorne / A Glade) The scene opens on Castle Bunthorne, residence of Reginald Bunthorne, who is described as 'a fleshly poet'. Outside the castle, young ladies dressed in aesthetic dress, playing lutes and other instruments, are apparently in the last stage of despair as they sing. Angela, Ella and Saphir are among them. Adopting languorous attitudes, they proclaim themselves to be 'twenty love-sick maidens', pining for Bunthorne, who cares not for them. Enter the middleaged Lady Jane, who also is lovesick for Bunthorne. She announces that Bunthorne is in love with Patience, a dairymaid. But, comments Saphir, Patience herself boasts that she has never loved. Patience enters and confirms, with some pride that she knows not what love is. She tells everyone that the 35th Dragoon Guards have arrived in the village. But the Maidens, although a year ago were all engaged to the officers, now care nothing for them. The officers enter in full uniform and in swaggering style. The colonel details the sum of the exceptional qualities that go to make up a Heavy Dragoon. Enter Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable, who has entered the army to avoid the boring, undeserving flattery which his noble rank attracts elsewhere. With his fellow officers he sees Bunthorne approach, followed by the love-sick Maidens. The Maidens only pay attention to Bunthorne and completely ignore the officers. The officers call this state of affairs preposterous; the Maidens continue their amorous plaint; and Bunthorne admits that (while pretending to ignore them) he really observes all that the Maidens do. Bunthorne declares that he has finished writing a poem and reads it—'a wild, weird, fleshly thing; yet very tender, very yearning, very precious'—to the enraptured Maidens. He leaves. But still the Maidens scorn the officers: 'You are not even early English!' The officers consider this an insult to their uniform, 'a uniform that has been as successful in the courts of Venus as on the field of Mars!' How unexpected that the appearance of the 'long-haired aesthetics' should prove more attractive than the British military uniform! With which sentiments they leave angrily. Entering alone and with melodramatic urgency, Bunthorne reveals that he is 'an aesthetic sham', posing for admiration's sake. To Patience, who now enters, Bunthorne declares his love, and says he will drop his posing if she will love him. She firmly declines and he leaves. Angela enters and impresses on Patience the importance of love—especially its unselfishness. Patience confesses that she did once feel the emotion of love—for a little boy, when she was four. Angela is interested. Patience, now brought to believe that love is a duty because it means unselfishness, is almost ashamed at not being in love. Suddenly Grosvenor, 'an idyllic poet', enters. Grosvenor proposes marriage; Patience declines on the grounds that she does not know him. Grosvenor reveals that he is the little boy she once loved. Patience is ready to marry him—until she recalls that he is perfection, so to monopolise his perfection would be selfishness, which could not be love. So she may not love him—though he may with propriety continue to love her. Bunthorne enters, looking miserable, followed by the Maidens who are playing cymbals and other pastoral,