Music sheet cover for The Princess Ida Quadrille

Music sheet cover for The Princess Ida Quadrille

Every new Gilbert and Sullivan opera was eagerly awaited and the vocal score was always ready to be sold at the theatre on the first night. The following day, versions of the tunes could be heard everywhere, on street organs and at ballad concerts. Medleys of dance music based on the tunes were also published soon after the first nights, few of them arranged by Sullivan himself. (As you can see, this quadrille arrangement is by P. Bucalossi.) They appeared in various forms, the most popular being the waltz, the quadrille, the lancers and the polka. Each of these was arranged for piano solo, piano duet, septet or octet, full orchestra and even military band but only the piano solo versions had illustrated covers. Until 1881 they were produced in several colours but after 1881 the colour was reduced, to save money. The images on the music sheet covers are all realistic representations of the scenery and the costumes, since artists were sent to the theatre to sketch them. Here we see Castle Adamant, Princess Ida in her chain-mail costume, Hilarion, and the crotchety old King Gama.