THE revival of 'The Sorcerer' at the Savoy Theatre appears likely to be successful. This was the first of the two-act burlesque operas which we owe to the combined efforts of Mr. W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, and it is undoubtedly one of the best. If the satire is perhaps at times a little too caustic, the music bears throughout the impress of high-class musicianship. The concerted pieces and the treatment of the orchestra are worthy of serious opera, and it would be incorrect to say that the skill of the composer has been thrown away. Any less artistic treatment of the book would have spoilt its effect, for Mr. Gilbert's characters are as serious as they are preposterous, and act as consistently as if the conditions under which they live were those of real life. In the performance praise is due to Mr. Grossmith, Mr. Barrington, and Mr. R. Temple, who resume their original characters, and to Miss L. Braham, Miss R. Brandram, and Mr. D. Lely, who are an improvement on their predecessors. That clever piece of nonsense 'Trial by Jury,' by the same authors, concludes the programme.
Amongst the changes of the last few days at some of the Metropolitan theatres the substitution of "The Sorcerer" and "Trial by Jury" for "Princess Ida," at the Savoy theatre, [sic] is the most important. It is well known that during the last few months the receipts at the Savoy have not reached anything like the usual average, but whether this was due to the competition of the "Healtheries," or to the fact that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan had "written themselves out," and the public were beginning to tire of the series of clever, yet monotonously similar operas, which these skilful gentlemen have during the last seven years combined to produce, it is difficult to say. Suffice it to mention that Mr. D'Oyly Carte has fallen back on two of their earliest efforts, and, judging by the enthusiastic reception accorded to them by a large audience on the first night of the revival, I am of opinion that Mr. Carte has correctly gauged the public taste. The selection, moreover, does credit to the management, inasmuch as "The Sorcerer" is generally regarded as the best of Mr. Gilbert's works written in conjunction with Sir Arthur Sullivan.
transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 11 January 2001
updated 22 August 2001