The Gondoliers
Scottish Opera

The Gondoliers

Gilbert and Sullivan
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Sung in
Subtitles in

Two happy-go-lucky Venetian gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe, discover that one of them is heir to the throne of a distant kingdom. True to their (adopted) republican roots, they set off together to rule in an idealistic if somewhat chaotic style…

OperaVision’s first ever stream of a comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, The Gondoliers is a charming poke at the appeals and pitfalls of rulership, privilege and cronyism. Scottish Opera’s production, made in collaboration with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and State Opera South Australia, is directed with verve by Stuart Maunder, and Scottish Opera’s music director, Derek Clark, conducts one of Arthur Sullivan’s most attractive and affecting scores. ‘Take a pair of sparkling eyes’ with its lyrical grace is probably the most famous number of the opera and the Act II quartet is probably the cleverest as individual voices break out furiously from a moment of artificial calm. 'The Gondoliers is a glorious confection’, says Maunder, ‘the sunniest, most joyous of the Savoy scores, jam-packed with star roles, all unforgettable. It’s an irresistible helping of relentless joy.'


Marco Palmieri
William Morgan
Giuseppe Palmieri
Mark Nathan
Ellie Laugharne
Sioned Gwen Davies
The Duchess of Plaza-Toro
Yvonne Howard
The Duke of Plaza-Toro
Richard Suart
Don Alhambra del Bolero
Ben McAteer
Catriona Hewitson
Arthur Bruce
Dan Shelvey
Cheryl Forbes
Oskar McCarthy
Zoe Drummond
Flora McDonald
Grace Wain
Osian Wyn Bowen
Scottish Opera Orchestra
The Chorus of The Gondoliers
Arthur Sullivan
William S. Gilbert
Derek Clark
Stuart Maunder
Sets & Costumes
Dick Bird
Paul Keogan
Isabel Baquero
Assistant choreographer
Lucy Burns
Film director
Jonathan Haswell


Behind the scenes

How to rock an 11 foot frock?

What do you need to craft an 11 foot stage dress? No less than ‘Blood, sweat, tears, missed tea breaks, missed lunch breaks and headaches and physiotherapy...’ says Lorna Price, Head of Costume at Scottish Opera.

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Behind the scenes

Meet the funny gondoliers of Scottish Opera

Welcome to the Kingdom of Barataria! The gondoliers and half-kings Marco (William Morgan) and Giuseppe (Mark Nathan) take us backstage at Scottish Opera to discover the amazing sets and props of this irresistible production of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera.

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Act 1 – Venice

In Venice, twenty four farm girls declare their passions for the handsome gondolier brothers Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri, who blindfold themselves in order to choose their brides fairly. Eventually, Giuseppe picks Tessa and Marco picks Gianetta, and all four head to church for a double wedding.

The Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro, along with their daughter Casilda, arrive from Spain to meet with Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor. While their drummer Luiz departs to announce the Duke’s arrival, the Duke and Duchess reveal to their daughter a secret they have kept for twenty years: when she was just six months old, she was married to the infant son of the King of Barataria, who was spirited away to Venice by Don Alhambra, and is now King himself following his father’s demise in an insurrection. Casilda is therefore now Queen of Barataria, and her parents have brought her to Venice so that she can meet her husband. Secretly in love with Luiz, Casilda resigns herself to a life apart from him.

Don Alhambra arrives, and explains that the baby Prince of Barataria was raised by the Venetian gondolier Baptisto Palmieri, who had a son of a similar age and quickly forgot which was which. The two boys – Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri – grew up to become gondoliers themselves. Only the nurse Inez who looked after them (and who also happens to be Luiz’s mother) knows which is which, but she is now living with a brigand in the mountains. The Grand Inquisitor sends Luiz to find her.

When Marco and Giuseppe arrive with their wives, Don Alhambra explains that one of them is the King of Barataria, but nobody knows which one. Despite their Republican beliefs, the ‘brothers’ are delighted, and agree to travel to Barataria at once, acting together until the real King can be identified. Don Alhambra advises their wives that they cannot be admitted to Barataria until the King has been declared – neglecting to mention that the real King is already married to Casilda.


Act 2 – The Royal Court of Barataria

In Barataria, Marco and Giuseppe are enjoying splendid lives but nonetheless miss their wives. Themselves struggling to endure the separation, the ladies soon arrive from Venice, and all celebrate with a grand ball.

Don Alhambra arrives at the palace to discover that Marco and Giuseppe have promoted everyone to the nobility, and breaks the news that the true King was married to Casilda as a baby – and is therefore an inadvertent bigamist. The gondoliers’ wives are distraught to discover that neither of them will be Queen.

The Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro arrive with Casilda, and, shocked by the lack of pomp and ceremony to welcome them, set about educating Marco and Giuseppe in proper royal behaviour. The two erstwhile gondoliers are left alone with Casilda, who promises to be a loyal wife to one of them, and when their other wives arrive, all five sing of their strange predicament.

Don Alhambra arrives with the nurse Inez who knows the King’s true identity. She confesses that when the Grand Inquisitor arrived to steal the baby Prince away, she substituted her own young son, keeping the true Prince under her own guard. Thus it is neither Marco nor Giuseppe who is King, but Luiz – and Casilda discovers that she is already married to the man she loves. The two gondoliers, though disappointed not to be King, return to Venice happily with their wives.