Madison Savoyards Ups the Ante

Production of The Gondoliers features a payday for all roles

 

Many faithful attendees over the last half-century-plus of summers of the Madison Savoyards, Ltd. productions of the beloved canon of Gilbert and Sullivan might not have felt that the company needed to grow in any particular direction. But chances are that, while undoubtedly all the singers were glad to be a part of the Savoyards over the years, some felt it would be nice to get paid.

And now they will.

Some always were in recent years, as well as the orchestra, but for the first time in its history the Savoyards are paying all the roles, and some of the chorus as well. One might presume such a development will raise the overall performance standards even higher; whether it does or not, we get our first chance to see and hear the results on Friday, July 29 with performances running through August 7.

The vehicle this time is The Gondoliers, a typical G&S romp of identity crises and the mayhem that ensues, all set to Sullivan’s effervescent tunes and Gilbert’s tongue-tripping lyrics. It marks the work’s first Savoyards appearance since 2003. The titular boat-rowers are Christopher Smith (pictured above) and Brian Schneider, with other principal roles taken by Bill Rosholt, Becky Buechel, Gavin Waid and Nicholas Kaplewski.

But for this auditor, one of the major draws is Kyle Knox, conducting the entire affair. Following his Madison Opera debut in leading Little Women and University Opera’s production of Transformations, it will be exciting to see how much transparency and buoyancy Knox brings to bear.

Director Lauren Wax, who last directed here in 2014 for the Savoyards’ Princess Ida, is particularly excited about the use of a functional gondola. And to further pique our interest, Wax has said “And in the fashion of my directing approach, it has been designed with the idea of a puzzle in mind. You’ll just have to see the show in order to see this fabulous creation.”

Staged as usual at the UW-Madison Music Hall, tickets can be purchased at the Campus Arts Ticketing Box Office, by phone at (608) 265-ARTS, or online at www.arts.wisc.edu.

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