Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience requires just that—and lots of it. Particularly when you’ve chosen to be cheap and not buy the libretto. Inspired by the Aesthetic Movement, this ever so silly opera tells the story of Patience, a young, virginal, and naïve milkmaid and her trials and tribulations in loving the personification of perfection, Archibald Grosvenor, as well as the flamboyant and flawed Bunthorne, who is, in his own words, an ‘aesthetic sham.’
Some highlights of the opera include the astoundingly bad poetry of Grosvenor as well as the hotly coloured tights worn by most male performers. At one point, we believe we spotted a pair of fuschia leggings being donned by a man in a green velvet cropped suit. It seemed like an outfit of which Oscar Wilde would have most definitely approved. Though the music was lovely, one major ear sore was the overdone accent of Patience—who (we hope purposely) tried to caricaturize a Northerner. Yikes.
Despite the occasional overly drawn out vowel, though, Patience is absurdly fun. Be sure to buy a libretto next time you go to a Gilbert & Sullivan opera, though, because there truly are some silly and cute quips not to be missed. Just gather up all your Wilde-loving, aesthetics-obsessed pals and have a quaint evening with a load of elderly Torry-types enjoying a G&S production of Patience, which is a fine figure of an opera indeed.
Patience was performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms on 11 August. Tickets for future Proms can be bought here.
By Nancy Thebaut. Image by Buckaroo Kid in the Londonist Flickr pool.