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Posted Thu Apr 10th, 2008 9:48am Post subject: Bunthorne in 'Patience' almost certinly wasn't Oscar...
Another splendid Podgram from Mr Fry - I'm not sure, but I think that I marginally prefer the discursive style...

Anyhoo, in line with his comment about the collective wisdom of the world, a minor correction to the assertion that Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Patience' was about Oscar Wilde - in particular, the character of Bunthorne. This has been much discussed by G&S scholars (and, yes, there are some), and the generally-accepted conclusion is that Bunthorne was based on a combination of Swinburne and Rossetti, who were more famous than Wilde at the time of writing. Also, in the original production, the actor was made up to look like Whistler. Gilbert tended not to make direct satires on one person, however, and his poets in the opera are composites, taking characteristics from several well-known figures, so it is likely that Wilde was an influence, although probably not a direct model.

Incidentally, Bunthorne happens to be my favourite part in G&S (having played him twice) - although a hideous personality, a delight to perform. I also once tried to update the show to the New Romantic period. I abandoned it as too much hard work after doing a few songs, but I am still proud of my updated name for this character - Simon LeBonthorne...


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Posted Thu Apr 10th, 2008 4:20pm Post subject: Bunthorne in 'Patience' almost certinly wasn't Oscar...
Ooh! Interesting. I think Mr. Fry needs to come over and defend his assertions from your sharp scholar's eye, tout de suite.

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Posted Fri Apr 11th, 2008 12:01am Post subject: Bunthorne in 'Patience' almost certinly wasn't Oscar...
This made me start singing Tom Lehrer's version of "Clementine" as if done by Gilbert and Sullivan.

To end on a happy note, one can always count on Gilbert and Sullivan for a rousing finale, full of words and music and signifying - nothing.***

That I missed her depressed her young sister named Esther,
This mister to pester she tried.
Now her pestering sister's a festering blister,
You're best to resist her, say I.

The mister resisted, the sister persisted,
I kissed her, all loyalty slipped.
When she said I could have her, her sister's cadaver
Must surely have turned in its crypt.
Yes, yes, yes, yes!

But I love she and she loves me.
Enraptured are the both of we.
Yes I love she and she loves I
And will through all eterni-tae!

And then I remembered this great flash animation of 'The Elements', so cute!

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