Just keeping my hand in with older projects…
The arrival of the Judge
Edward Lear Background design- the woman of Smyrna:
Here are a few screenshots of a sketch of the Bridesmaids’ chorus from TRIAL BY JURY.
Here is a first colour version:
This is the preferred version:
There are some changes that Gilbert made before he teamed up with Sullivan for the “Trial” we know. For one, the setting changed from “A Court of Law at Westminster” to the Exchequer. (it is called Urtrial in the 1980 edition of “Bab Ballads”) but the original plan was for a musical setting of this to be presented with a production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin”, quite a novel idea. This is what a 1907 interview records, “Trial by Jury had already been published in Fun by Bab. Gilbert elaborated it for the ParepaRosa Opera Company and it was set to music by Carl Rosa, but the arrangements for producing it fell through owing to the death of ParepaRosa, Carl Rosa’s wife. Gilbert then took the libretto to Sullivan…”
The legal changes
Not enough is said of Angelina who seems to be a golddigger. She does not want to marry Edwin but to get substantial damages from him. The hearing was at the court of the exchequer which was closed in 1873, so whether that court ever heard anything other than revenue cases is a moot point. By the time the piece was performed, it was all old history anyway! One of the biggest shake-ups of the British legal system had just taken place in 1875. It is the same year that Bazalgette started the london sewerage system. To add to the nonsense, it is likely that a real breach of promise would not have been a Jury case anyway.
Oh- and the reference to the trousseau is an attempt to keep the Jury’s mind on the costs that Edwin must cough up.
Incidentally, the tradition of dressing the Judge in Purple (ordinary) or in Black comes from the new legislation so putting the Judge in scarlet might well be “justified”, although the early performance history has him in Black.
I rather like this joke from Utopia Ltd: “Whether you’re an honest man or whether you’re a thief / Depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief” It chimes in with the idea that the Judge got his briefs by buying them when he was working as a barrister. Certainly there was some underhand activity. Our judge might just be carrying around legal papers to make himself look good. He is all glitter this Judge- a swallow-tail coat, a ring that looked like a ruby and a brief that somehow got him into a crown court.
the storyboards continue. Here are some pictures from the Judge’s song:
if the time you’ll not begrudge
For these kind words accept my thanks I pray, a breach of promise we’ve to try today
called to the bar
Here are some more storyboard illustrations from TRIAL BY JURY
I’ll tell you how
Above: for today in this arena
Below: the judge’s entrance: behold your judge
to your bright rays
we never grudge ecstatic praise
may each decree and statute rank
and never be reversed en blanc
Hark the hour
breathing hope and fear
in this arena
for these kind words accept my thanks i pray
For these kind words etc
A breach of promise we’ve to try today
All hail great judge etc
but firstly if the time you’ll not begrudge, I’ll tell you how I came to be a judge