The Gondoliers

The Story

The opening of The Gondoliers is set in Venice, alongside the canals. The women (Contadine) are looking forward to the arrival of their two favourite Gondoliers, who have promised to choose brides. More by design than luck they end up with their two favourites, and all appear happy. However, by the usual multiple turns of any of Gilbert's plots, it appears that one of the two is actually the King of Barataria - an obscure Spanish island - and is needed there at once to re-establish Government. Unfortunately, the Grand Inquisitor, who reveals this to them, doesn't actually know which is the King and which the Gondolier. And since the King was married in childhood, that somewhat affects the marriage plans of the Contadine!

The Gondoliers go off to Barataria, leaving their women behind, and set up a Republican Kingdom, where all are equal and the two of them reign jointly. Despite that, they're all bored, and the unexpected arrival of the Contadine cheers them up no end. However, there's still the issue of which of them is actually the King. In true Gilbertian fashion, the answer is revealed right at the end, with the appearance of the nurse who looked after them in infancy.

So - that's all pretty straight forward, then!

Don Alhambra is unimpressed by Giuseppe's promises to the Contadine. Marco wonders whether he can learn something...
And remains unimpressed with their other antics.
The Don explains to Marco how "There lived a King, as I've been told". Marco is pained by the revelation.
The Don is concerned by what he's told...

 Photos by Mike Kwasniak - Ipswich 719002