Theatre / The Sorcerer
is a comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan
, first performed in 1877. The first revival, in 1884, included some significant revisions (mainly concerning the end of the first act and the beginning of the second) which have carried through to later productions.
The plot concerns a village in which everyone is dosed with a Love Potion
by a sorcerer, with, naturally, hilarity ensuing
The work is a parody of pastoral opera tropes and a satire on contemporary class differences.
The Sorcerer provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The Sorcerer started life as a short story. In which the love potion is never reversed. The names are different, but, using the names from the opera to keep it simple: Aline tastes the potion, falls in love with Dr. Daly. Alexis is upset about this — so far, pretty much as in the opera. However, the potion can't be reversed, so Alexis gets bought off with a valuable living (basically, a guaranteed income), and the story ends with Aline praising Alexis' wonderful love potion idea.
- Designated Villain: John Wellington Wells is designated as the villain In-Universe. When Wells says that the only way for his spell to be reversed is for either himself or Alexis to sacrifice his life, Alexis, whose fault it all is, volunteers — but Aline protests, so the villagers vote on who should die and unanimously choose Mr. Wells. Justified because Alexis is a parody of the stock romantic lead and therefore the Designated Hero.
- Dragged Off to Hell: Happens to Wells in the end, breaking the love spell.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Wells's death sentence is marked by a gong.
- Funetik Aksent: A chorus of country bumpkins is helpfully indicated this way. "Eh, but oi du loike you!"
- Gentleman Wizard: John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co, a family firm, is a wizard and a Victorian gentleman.
- Grande Dame: Lady Sangazure, Aline's widowed mother.
- "I Am" Song:
- "Love feeds on many kinds of food" is Alexis' first solo, and introduces his world-view that drives the plot.
- "My name is John Wellington Wells / Dealer in magic and spells"
- I Was Quite a Looker: Dr. Daly, the aging vicar, sings a melancholy song about how stunningly attractive he was as a young curate. In fact, he still makes one young female character go weak at the knees.
- Long List: Alexis greets John Wellington Wells with "Good day. I believe you are a sorcerer." Wells immediately rattles off a Long List of his company's magical products — and then sings a song about them.
- Love Potion: Alexis, believing that love has the power to erase social differences and create a harmonious society, hires Wells to dose everyone in the village with a potion that makes them fall in love with the first person of the opposite sex they see. (Married people are exempted.) Hilarity Ensues.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Oh joyous boon / Oh mad delight" begins appropriately upbeat and continues upbeat through lyrics like "Alas! that lovers thus should meet: / Oh, pity, pity me!"
- Meaningful Name: "Sangazure" = "blue blood".
- Oblivious to Love: Dr. Daly is oblivious to Constance's feelings for him.
- Opening Chorus: "Ring forth, ye bells"
- Pair the Spares: Everyone's paired off at the end; the pairings are supposedly the ones that existed before the love potion caused everyone to pair up randomly, but they were too shy to admit to them before.
- Patter Song: "My Name is John Wellington Wells" is the earliest Gilbert and Sullivan example of the form.
- Punch Clock Villain: John Wellington Wells is a respectable Victorian businessman who makes his living practicing "all forms of necromancy".
- Redemption Equals Death: Subverted; Alexis offers to give his life to undo the mess he's caused, but his friends make Wells do it instead.
- Someone Has to Die: Because the love potion is a product of dark magic, its effect can only be ended by if either Wells (who concocted it) or Alexis (who put him up to it) agrees to be Dragged Off to Hell.
- Upper-Class Twit: Alexis Pointdextre.
- The Vicar: Dr. Daly. Despite the rather gentle treatment he gets, Gilbert was nonetheless criticized for mocking the Church.