The Gilbert and Sullivan Operas and ‘Middle-Class’ Ideals

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


Goron explores the idea that the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company emerged from a specific set of social conditions and ‘Victorian Values’ which affected theatre production and audience expectations in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The chapter outlines the core ‘Victorian values’ espoused by respectable, middle-class Victorian society. Examples from the opera libretti, from the lives of Gilbert, Sullivan, their manager, Richard D’Oyly Carte, and from the stars of the Savoy Theatre are used throughout the chapter to illustrate and comment on the middle-class ideology which underpinned their work.


Middle Class Social Order Social Hierarchy Social Boundary Theatre Practitioner 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southampton Solent UniversitySouthamptonUK
  2. 2.University of WinchesterWinchesterUK

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