© 2016

Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Respectable Capers'

Class, Respectability and the Savoy Operas 1877–1909


Part of the Palgrave Studies in British Musical Theatre book series (PSBMT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Michael Goron
    Pages 1-15
  3. Michael Goron
    Pages 73-106
  4. Michael Goron
    Pages 107-139
  5. Michael Goron
    Pages 223-230
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 231-249

About this book


This innovative account of the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership provides a unique insight into the experience of both attending and performing in the original productions of the most influential and enduring pieces of English-language musical theatre.

In the 1870s, Savoy impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte astutely realized that a conscious move to respectability in a West End which, until then, had favored the racy delights of burlesque and French operetta, would attract a new, lucrative morally ‘decent’ audience.

This book examines the commercial, material and human factors underlying the Victorian productions of the Savoy operas. Unusually for a book on ‘G&S’, it focuses on people and things rather than author biography or literary criticism. Examining theatre architecture, interior design, marketing, and typical audiences, as well as the working conditions and personal lives of the members of a Victorian theatre-company, ‘Respectable Capers’ explains how the Gilbert and Sullivan operas helped to transform the West End into the family-friendly ‘theatre land’ which still exists today.


G&S west-end Victorian opera Victorian era theatre-going historiography British history social history women in opera d'oyly carte British musicals culture opera The Mikado HMS Pinafore

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Southampton Solent UniversitySouthamptonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Michael Goron began his working life as a professional actor, working in everything from German Expressionism to traditional pantomime. He formed a small scale touring theatre company for which he directed a number of shows. Michael returned to Higher Education as a post-graduate student and, from 2007, as a lecturer at the universities of Winchester and Southampton Solent, UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Respectable Capers'
  • Book Subtitle Class, Respectability and the Savoy Operas 1877–1909
  • Authors Michael Goron
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in British Musical Theatre
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in British Musical Theatre
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-59477-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-95537-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-59478-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVIII, 249
  • Number of Illustrations 8 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Theatre History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site