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Yeomen of the Guard
Follen Church
Lexington, MA
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Yeomen of the Guard
For more than five decades, the Youth and Junior Choirs of Follen Community Church have been performing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas every June. This tradition, begun by former Music Director Louise Curtis and the Follen Players' director Marilu Nowlin, is now in the hands of the present Director of Music, Thomas Stumpf, ably assisted by Holly Stumpf, who conducts the Junior Choir and is best known in Lexington as Harrington School's music specialist; and pianist Eric Mazonson; and by a multitude of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers.

Follen's presentation will be "The Yeomen of the Guard, or The Merryman and his Maid", with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It premiered at the Savoy Theatre on October 3, 1888, and ran for a very successful 423 performances.  This was the eleventh comic opera collaboration of fourteen between Gilbert and Sullivan.

Leads*:                Friday,                      Saturday
Phoebe Meryll:    Abby Mulligan,          Maria Cali
Wilfred Shadbolt: Dennis Bromley,       Dennis Bromley
Dame Carruthers:Katharine Courtemanche,Gabrielle Paquette
Sergeant Meryll:  Lucas Campbell,       Skylar Levey
Leonard Meryll:   Jake Byers,               Robin Armstrong
Colonel Fairfax:   Michele Hellinger,      Isaiah Johnson
Lieutenant:          Adam Harrington,      Tim Edson
Jack Point:          Noah Harrington,       Liam Hefferman
Elsie Maynard:    Sophie Morgan,          Frances Snellings
Kate:                    Karina Lenrow,             Karina Lenrow
1st Yeoman:        Will Marshall,            Will Marshall
2nd Yeoman:       Elias Carver,            Evan Bitsko

4 Solo Citizens
Oliver Cotran, Isabel Fox, Connor Mulligan, Juliana Stern

*Leads will be part of Yeomen and Townspeople on their non-lead night.  

Townspeople: Emily Byers, Katie Byers, Jessie Cali, Maria Cali, Lena Cassidy-Weissburg, Adam Colburn, Katharine Courtemanche, Thomas Egan, Henri Engstrom, Bayley Fox, Camden Fox, Alisha Gandhi, Sophie Gregoretti, Claudia Hart, Sydney Hart, Annika Hawkins, Emily Hawkins, Ian Horsburgh, Caleb Johnson, Rebecca Johnson, Donovan Jones, Brett Kahmann,Hannah Lee, Karina Lenrow, Charlotte Livingston, Philip Livingston, Stuart Livingston, Rachel Lloyd, William Lloyd, Hannah Markelz, Sophia Morgan, Venice Mountain-Zona, Abigail Mulligan, Heath Nevis, Jasper Nevis, Honor O'Shaughnessy, Tess O'Shaughnessy, Isabella Pagani, Gabrielle Paquette, Allison Rodger, Katharine Rodger, Lydia Rommel, Isabella Scopetski, Frances Snellings, Henry Stevenson, Juliet Stevenson, Ewan Swanson, Annika Truslow, Grace Walters, Anya Wintner

Yeomen: Robin Armstrong, Evan Bitsko, Jake Byers, Lucas Campbell, Elias Carver, Isaiah Carver, Marc Courtemanche, Tim Edson, Andrew Egan, Adam Harrington, Noah Harrington, Liam Hefferman, Owen Hefferman, Michele Hellinger, Ben Horsburgh, Isaiah Johnson, Skylar Levey, Robert Lloyd, Jacob Mela, Benjamin Nevis, Hamish Swanson, Henry Walters

Synopsis

The Overture to "The Yeomen of the Guard" is, as usual with G&S, a potpourri of melodies from the opera. What is not usual is that this Overture was actually written by Sullivan himself....

ACT I

The scene - as throughout the opera - is Tower Green, a courtyard within the Tower of London. The first person we meet is Phoebe Meryll, daughter of the Sergeant of the Yeomen, who is clearly pining out of lovesickness (Aria: "When maiden loves"). The Head Jailer Wilfred Shadbolt appears. He is in love with Phoebe but discovers that she has her eyes on the noble prisoner Colonel Fairfax and is consumed by jealousy.  The townspeople enter, singing of their admiration for the brave Yeomen. The Yeomen enter, singing of their past exploits (Double Chorus with Solo Yeoman: "Tower warders, under orders"). As the townspeople leave, Dame Carruthers, housekeeper to the Tower, appears and speaks of all her work with the prisoners. When Phoebe complains of all the bloodshed that the Tower demands, Dame Carruthers silences her with a tribute to that grand but gruesome edifice (Aria with Chorus: "When our gallant Norman foes"). The Dame and the Yeomen exit, leaving Phoebe alone with her father. They await a reprieve for Colonel Fairfax, who has obviously been unfairly imprisoned. Leonard, Phoebe's brother, arrives but has no reprieve to deliver. A plot is hatched: Leonard was supposed to join the Yeomen, but in order to save Fairfax's life his place will be taken by Fairfax. The three Merylls muster their courage to carry out the daring plan (Trio: "Alas! I waver to and fro").


Leonard runs off as Fairfax is led onto the Green only to meet Sir Richard Cholmondely, Lieutenant of the Tower. Fairfax greets his old friends the Lieutenant and Sergeant Meryll and brags of his ability to face death (Ballad: "Is life a boon?"). When Phoebe has been led away by her father, Fairfax requests that the Lieutenant find him a wife quickly before he dies: this way his evil kinsman will not inherit his fortune. The Lieutenant promises to help him.

The Townspeople run in, chasing the strolling players Jack Point and Elsie Maynard, who sing the song of the Merryman and his Maid for them (Duet: "I have a song to sing, O!"). As the rabble becomes increasingly unruly, the Lieutenant enters and has the people driven away. He discovers that Point and Elsie are in need of money and that Elsie is unwed so he asks her to be an unknown prisoner's bride for the last hour before his execution. Elsie and Point give their consent (Trio: "How say you, maiden"). Elsie is taken away blindfolded. The Lieutenant now interviews Point for the position of Jester, and the "fool" tries to impress him (Song: "I've jibe and joke") with mixed success. They leave and Elsie appears, singing of the strange wonders of a one-hour marriage and impending widowhood (Recitative and Aria: "Tis done! I am a bride!"). She leaves and Phoebe appears with her "sour-faced admirer" Wilfred, intending to steal his keys from him in order to carry out her father's plot to rescue Fairfax. To accomplish her task she flirts shamelessly with Wilfred (Aria: "Were I thy bride").


When they have both left, Meryll and Fairfax meet, only to be joined by the Yeomen (Finale: "Oh Sergeant Meryll, is it true"). Fairfax is passed off as Meryll's son and Phoebe's brother, the brave and renowned Leonard. The townspeople arrive to view Fairfax's execution, but it is soon discovered that Fairfax's cell is empty. Elsie and Point are distraught, and Yeomen and townspeople rush off to find the escaped prisoner. Point is full of foreboding when he sees that Elsie has fainted in "Leonard"'s arms.

Act II

Two days later the prisoner still has not been found, and the townspeople and Dame Carruthers show their disdain for the ineffectual Yeomen (Chorus and Solos: "Night has spread her pall once more"). They all leave and Point enters. Even though he is now the Lieutenant's Jester, his heart is broken and he finds it difficult to "joke and jibe." Wilfred enters and claims to want to become a jester himself. Point gives him a lesson, delivered with considerable bitterness (Song: "Oh! a private buffoon"). He agrees to make Wilfred "the very Archbishop of jesters" if he will join him in a plot to claim that he has shot the escaped Fairfax. Wilfred readily agrees (Duet: "Hereupon we're both agreed"), and they leave to carry out their plan.


Fairfax enters, contemplating his marriage to an unknown bride (Ballad: "Free from his fetters grim"). Meryll comes followed by Dame Carruthers and her niece Kate. The latter has overheard Elsie in her sleep claiming that she was married to someone who had but an hour to live. Dame Carruthers is delighted by the gossip (Quartet: "Strange adventure").

Left alone, Fairfax realizes that he is married to the beautiful Elsie, and proceeds to put her to the test. Before they get very far, a shot is heard. Townspeople and Yeomen rush on and are told by Wilfred and Point that Wilfred has shot the escaped Fairfax. When the excitement is over, Point begins to woo Elsie. Fairfax and Phoebe - even Elsie herself - try to teach him how (Trio: "A man who would woo a fair maid"). In the course of the "lesson" it becomes clear to both Phoebe and Point that Fairfax is wooing Elsie in earnest (Quartet: "When a wooer goes a-wooing"). As Fairfax takes Elsie away, Point leaves in despair.

Phoebe is joined by Wilfred and inadvertently reveals that the supposed Leonard is really Fairfax. In horror, she promises Wilfred she will marry him in order to ensure his silence. During their conversation, the real Leonard enters with the news of Fairfax's reprieve. Sergeant Meryll appears and Phoebe tells him of her mistake; Dame Carruthers overhears and poor Meryll finds himself in the position of having to marry the old woman in order to ensure her silence (Duet: "Rapture, rapture!").

Preparations for Elsie's marriage to "Leonard" are begun (Finale: "Comes the pretty young bride"), but joy turns to horror when the Lieutenant enters and tells Elsie that Fairfax - the prisoner she married - is alive and has been reprieved. Horror turns once again to joy when Elsie realizes that "Leonard" really is Fairfax. As the crowds prepare to celebrate, Point enters and slowly dies of a broken heart.

Location

Follen Church (View)
755 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420
United States


Categories

None

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!

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