Opera Matinee: Arthur Sullivan – The Beauty Stone
Sullivan’s three-act ‘original romantic musical drama’
When Geoff Brown reviewed the recording of this production in the January 2014 issue of BBC Music Magazine he awarded it with an impressive four stars.
The opera was far from popular when it premiered at the Savoy Theatre in 1898 and this is the first production since that has been deemed worth recording.
Set in the fifteenth century, the opera combines the romanticised style of Ivanhoe with the wit of the earlier Savoy operas. Within the realms of magic and medievalism, the plot feels like a Grimm’s fairytale, telling the story of a young girl, Liane, who lacks physical beauty despite her good soul. The ending is a fairytale one, with a handsome Prince recognising the girl’s inner beauty and marrying her.
Despite the opera’s lack of popularity until now, it contains some fine music. Brown states that this production should ‘make audiences consider the work anew, reminding them of the catchiness of Sullivan’s tunes.’
Starring Toby Spence, Alan Opie and Elin Manahan Thomas. Rory Macdonald conducts the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales.