Review: The Gondoliers at Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento

The Gondoliers: Thu 1:30pm, Fri 7:30pm, Sat 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun 2pm. Through 8/26; $15-$20; 24th Street Theatre at Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th Street; (530) 400-1858;
Rated 4.0

The first ingredient a good Gilbert & Sullivan production needs is a strong chorus. The chorus of the Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento production of The Gondoliers is excellent, with strong voices and precision at all times.

This production is under the direction of Robert Vann (who also plays the drummer, Luiz) with music director Anne-Marie Endres conducting a first-rate, 19-piece orchestra.

The performers are all clad in modern dress (perhaps circa 1950s, given the crinoline skirts), showing that G&S does not need to be restricted to any particular time period. Most of the costumes on stage work well (but please lose Gianetta’s hat!)

LOTS co-founder Mike Baad heads up the cast as the Duke of Plaza Toro, arriving in Venice to introduce his daughter Casilda (Tiffany Patterson) to the prince to whom she was betrothed in infancy. In true topsy-turvy fashion, there is a problem, in that nobody knows exactly which of the two gondoliers is actually the real prince. Is it Marco (the charismatic Anthony Tavianini) or Giuseppe (Charlie Baad), both of whom have just had marriages of their own.

The men are sent off to the island of Baritaria by the Grand Inquisitor (Tim Power) until the real prince can be identified by his foster mother.

This show fulfills all the requisites for a successful G&S story, with romance, mixed identities, a couple of crusty old men, a haughty dowager and a lot of lively dancing (especially the Cachucha).

It is certain to leave the audience with “feelings of pleasure.”