‘The Gondoliers’ comes to Great Neck

1) In a scene from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Marco (Vincenzo Fiorito, left) and Giuseppe (Henry Horstmann, right) receive unwelcome news from the Grand Inquisitor, Don Alhambra (Christian Jurak): One of them is the long-lost son of the King of Barataria, but nobody knows which one.

The ardent song of a Venetian gondolier will be heard over Great Neck when the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island premieres its 2019 production of the classic Savoy opera, “The Gondoliers” at the Great Neck Library on Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m.

Directed by Gayden Wren, with music directed by Helen Kim, “The Gondoliers” is the most effortlessly beautiful of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, with a typically zany plot about a pair of gondoliers whose carefree life is disrupted when it turns out that one of them is the long-lost king of Barataria — but nobody can tell which one of them.

The score for “The Gondoliers” is packed with famous songs, including the pining ballad “Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes,” the rattling patter song “In Enterprise of Martial Kind,” the ingenious argument quartet “In a Contemplative Fashion” and the bouncy “Rising Early in the Morning.” The opera is a merry farce that’s as funny now as it was a century ago. It’s guaranteed fun for the whole family.

The cast includes more than a dozen of the company’s finest singers and dancers, more than meeting the challenge of “The Gondoliers,” which famously contains two of everything: two tenors, two sopranos, two patter baritones, two basses and so on.

Vincenzo Fiorito and Henry Horstmann play the supposed brothers Marco and Giuseppe, with Kara Vertucci and Victoria Isernia as their wives, Tessa and Gianetta. Ben Salers and Terry Hochler play the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro, with Lauren Delucia as their daughter Casilda and David Sterling as the drummer boy Luiz. Christian Jurak plays the sinister Don Alhambra, with Jordan Breslow as Antonio, Robert Del Monte as Giorgio, Patricia Gallagher as Giulia, Delaney Page as Vittoria, and Mary DeMarco Lee as Luiz’s mother, Inez.

“The Gondoliers is unlike any other Gilbert & Sullivan opera,” Wren said. “It’s almost two operas rolled into one, as a group of Spaniards — led by the fearsome Grand Inquisitor, Don Alhambra — run around trying to sort out the plot while a group of Italians just want to relax, flirt, sing a few songs and enjoy themselves. The whole thing comes together at the end, but until then literally nobody really understands what’s going on. Except, of course, the audience, who can count on a great time from beginning to end.”

The Great Neck Library is located at 159 Bayview Ave. in Great Neck. Admission is free. For further information, call 516-466-8055 or visit www.greatnecklibrary.org.


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