is a one-act comic opera
with a libretto by Frank Desprez
and music by Alfred Cellier
. It was first performed at the Savoy Theatre
along with the H.M.S. Pinafore
and another short piece, Cups & Saucers
, from December 1878 to February 1880. Later it played with the children's Pinafore
(with In the Sulks
), from February to March 1880; with The Mikado
from November 1895 to March 1896; with The Grand Duke
from April to July 1896; with The Mikado
from July to August 1896; and with The Yeomen of the Guard
from May to June 1897. It was also performed on tour on numerous occasions through at least 1909.
The piece contains only 4 songs, all of which were separately published (by Metzler) and are in the British Library.
The fashion in the late Victorian era was to present long evenings in the theatre, and so producer Richard D'Oyly Carte preceded the savoy operas with curtain raisers.
Selworthy returns from many years in the Americas to seek his youthful sweetheart Perdita, and calls upon his old pal Pennyfather only to discover that Perdita is now Mrs. Pennyfather. He is heartbroken, but on learning from his friend what a henpecking, overbearing and overweight woman his sweetheart has now become, realises that he has had a lucky escape and that he really can forgive Pennyfather After All!
- No. 1. True, True Love!
- No. 2. The Solicitor's Song — Up A Little Early
- No. 3. It's Missus
- No. 4. Strictly Proper
The offstage voice was originally played by Jennie Sullivan (under the name J. Hervey), who was the composer's cousin. The role is not mentioned after the first few weeks or months of the run. Jessie Bond in her autobiography mentions her spoonerism "The missus is having such a cow with the rabman", which comes from this piece.
After Bond left for America in 1879, Julia Gwynne took over the role of Maria. C. H. Workman played Pennyfeather in the 1895-97 revivals. Emmie Owen played Maria in the 1895-96 revivals.