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Who and Sullivan?

Cox and Box was Sir Arthur Sullivan's first operetta, five years before his collaboration with W. S. Gilbert - hear it Sunday (5/21) on The Lyric Stage.

Sir Arthur Sullivan was a gregarious bon vivant who moved in the highest of social circles, and also a composer of "serious" intention. His works included a full length opera and oratorios, and a song cycle to the poems of Tennyson, as well as the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." His professional career included nearly two decades as conductor of the Leeds Triennial Music Festival and three years as conductor of the Philharmonic Society of London. But his operettas are why we remember him.

His first two operettas were with a librettist named F. C. Burnand, and Grove's describes them as "agreeable diversions on a serious composer's path." But they were the beginnings of his true calling. The first of these two operettas was "Cox and Box", based on a play called "Box and Cox." And that is our first music on this week's Lyric Stage.