When Gauntlett sings so brilliantly the well-known comedy patter song
I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General you wonder who in the War Office (or some bright young subaltern in 19th century Poona) realised what lay beneath the lyrics?
His production of English National Opera's The Pirates Of Penzance features the famous tongue-twisting patter song
"I am the very model of a modern Major-General" which has featured on everything from Family Guy and Frasier to The Muppet Show and Star Trek - The Next Generation.
The patter song
, for example, is first found in Thespis and was refined and used in every subsequent Gilbert and Sullivan show.
The show turned featured newcomer Danny Kaye, who performed the tongue-twisting patter song
"Tchaikovsky," into a star overnight.
A patter song
is characterized by light, quick music.
"Modern Major General" is a famous patter song
from Gilbert and Sullivan 1879 operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
A two-degree Yale man, he specialized not-so-gentle satire and the snappy comeback; he often was tucked in at the last moment for a patter song
. Physician Zimmer from Chicago carefully tracks his career, his survival as a liberal on an FBI list, and his achievement of fame for songs like "Wish You Were Here" and "I Can Get It for You Wholesale."
It's the melody of the Major-General's patter song
in The Pirates of Penzance .
The exception is a Rossini-like comic patter song
about the pasta that new wife Jenny ceaselessly cooks.
The referenced video recording is thought to be the only surviving performance of this patter song
with Noel Coward singing.
Not surprisingly, there was little to quibble with in this account, but Bostridge did mistake speed for ebullience in "Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne" ("Rose, Lily, Dove, Sun"), which he made sound like a patter song
. And in "Ich grolle nicht" ("I Bear No Grudge") a misplaced earnestness blunted the song's edge.
The style of the production is traditional, except for a few gestures that seem designed to recuperate operetta's risque charge: the Brazilian millionaire, for example, strips off his urbane hat and coat and finishes his patter song
barechested; another man gropes underneath Gabrielle's long skirt as she sings her demure aria, "Je suds la veuve d'un Colonel." With the exception of Helene of Delavault, the elegant chanteuse who portrays Metella, the cast are comic actors rather than opera singers, and they serve the music well enough.