This delightful work was the first product of the regular collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan. Though called a "Dramatic Cantata," it is, in its perfect union of tuneful music and clever words, a direct forerunner of the more famous later successes of this inimitable pair. It occupies less than 40 minutes and is the only Gilbert and Sullivan opera in which the entire text is sung. It satirises the procedure in a breach of promise and paints a picture of an English Court of Justice in which the jurymen are ostentatiously bored while the defendant's case is being submitted. The judge kindly offers the Court a sketch of his own personal rise through the ranks before passing to the business of the day. The defendant warbles cheerfully of his fickleness and the plaintive trips into court bridal regalia and escorted by a bevy of bridesmaids. Finally the judge flirts outrageously with her and brings the proceedings to a close by offering to marry her himself - all this, set to music as witty and brilliant as the words.
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