Library & Catalogue
We do a great deal of research into parlour operas old and new and we'll be keeping a record of our findings and creations here! We're still settling on a format but in the mean-time, here are a few of our favorites to read about!
Weather or No
By: Bertram Luard Selby
This Piece Termed, a Duologue is essentially a one act operetta used a curtain raiser at the Savoy Theater, however, like other curtain raisers, it was licensed for amateur performances in parlours and small theaters.
A weather-house is a German device that measures barometric pressure, but rather than show a numeric reading, causes a little man, or a little woman to pop out of the housing, and predict the weather. The Man indicates rain and storms, while the woman indicates sunshine. The story takes place during the spring when the constant changes in the weather lead to the two wooden people noticing each other. They decide to go on strike for a while, but it cannot last forever. Are they really so 'wooden' after-all?
A Welsh Sunset
By: Phillip Michael Faraday
An Operetta in 1 act, this short and sentimental piece was also a Curtain Raiser for the Savoy Theater. The cast is slightly larger including a Tenor, soprano, 3 Baritones/basses, and several spoken roles, however, Due to the short length the cast can easily be scaled down to suit the needs of the Parlour Opera players.
David has a beautiful tenor voice and is about to return from his audition to sing in Covent Garden. The entire village has gone to greet him but Jenny, who is too ill so manage the walk. Instead she waits up for him with her caretaker Mrs. Jones. She finally hears David singing on the horizon of his love for Jenny and his triumph at Covent Garden. He returns and the whole town revels singing of his success. Jenny, growing weak, asks David to sing one last song for her.
The Sweet O' the Year
By: E. C. Phelps
This piece is quite unique due to its size and nontraditional publishing history. Though quite famous in his life-time, so little of E. C. Phelps music was published and this small Operetta is only ever referenced in Scribner's Monthly, the periodical by which it was distributed. Subscriber's to Scribner's would have received the complete score to this piece by mail and could perform it in their own living rooms quite easily. The piece, a mere, six pages, is divided into two acts, and includes four named characters and a chorus. It was found in a bound volume in the personal Library of Stephen M. Ayres.
The Tenant/tenor believes his life is quite grand in his cosy suburban apartment, however, his wife and mother-in-law are less content. After describing his blissful living conditions to the landlord, the landlord Decides he must raise the rent. The mother in law and wife, are less than thrilled and see fit to draw attention to the all of the problems with the apartment. The landlord un-moved, decides to show the place to new prospective tenants who are quick to point out the short-comings of the dwelling. The entire company sings about the things they want in life but aren't able to obtain. The landlord, unable to rent out the room at a higher price, leaves in a fury and the tenants are victorious!