The Washington Savoyards, who brought their season to a close recently with performances of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience," have announced that they will move into Georgetown's Trinity Theater next year.
Though a decided loss for Montgomery County, the shift marks a step forward for the company, which began life in 1973 as the Montgomery Savoyards.The name was changed last year to reflect the ensemble's increasingly areawide character, which its move now confirms.
For those unfamiliar with the lore of Gilbert and Sullivan, the name Savoyards is derived from London's Savoy Theater where most of the duo's operas were first performed. "Patience," their sixth collaboration, opened in 1881 for a run of 578 performances.
The frothy plot centers on the posturings of poet Regionald Bunthorne. His elegant ways delight a number of young ladies who proceed to lose their heads over him -- as well as all affection for their former sweethearts, officers of the Dragoon Guards.
In the Washington Savoyards' production, Jon Riley, dressed in a black velvet suit reminiscent of Lord Fauntleroy, captures the cynicism in Bunthorne's character with impeccable timing and a deliciously rapish voice. As Colonel Calverley of the Dragoon Guards, Pat Anthony is a visual delight, his action full of the stylish ruffles and flourishes that mark the true Savoyard.
Janet Strawthorn brings a light, precise soprano voice to the role of Patience, and Ljudmila Petrovic contributes solid vocal talents to her part of Lady Jane. Lionel Marcoux combines a pleasing voice with a winning manner most suitable for Archibald, the rival poet.
Music Director James Basta directed with an energy that overcame most of the orchestral weaknesses.
Overall, the production is a merry one, though it did not quite achieve the sparkle necessary for Gilbert and Sullivan.