Auditions for The Gondoliers

Sunday 18 June

Scottish Arts Club - 24 Rutland Square

EDGAS are delighted to invite you to audition for principal roles in our 2024 production of The Gondoliers on Sunday 18 June at the Scottish Arts Club, Rutland Square. This vibrant classic, which we will be performing at the Festival Theatre during w/c 06 May 2024, is one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved operas, and as our centenary production is certainly not one to be missed!   


All information regarding auditions, including character guides, dialogue, and musical pieces, can be found below:


Background information on the plot, and links to the libretto and score, can be found here: The Gondoliers by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (


In order to sign up for a slot, please complete the following form:


Should you encounter any problems with either, please contact, and we’ll come back to you as soon as possible. Please note that while you are welcome to tick as many roles as you choose on the form, you will only be asked to perform one or two of these on the day. 

We are aware that in some exceptional circumstances, auditionees may be unable to attend on 18 June; if so, please email the EDGAS Secretary , and we will endeavour to make alternative arrangements prior to this date. Auditions for new chorus members will take place later in the year; should you be interested in chorus-only, again please email the EDGAS Secretary for awareness, noting your voice part (SATB).


For awareness, we expect rehearsals to commence in autumn 2023, with further information available in the near future. We will be continuing with our usual practice of rehearsing principals on Monday evenings, with full company on Tuesdays. Principals will be expected to attend all rehearsals as scheduled unless otherwise informed.  

2024 Production – “The Gondoliers”


The auditions are upon us once again, so come on, all you budding contadine, gondoliers, Grand Dukes and Duchesses, Drummer Boys, Baratartian Queens, and Grand Inquisitors, and let us see what you could do as a Principal in “The Gondoliers”.

Everything I’ve said about auditions before applies here. You don’t have to produce a flawless performance on the day – but you do need to show us that you have the potential to play the part to the high standard that’s required. It’s not necessary to sing or speak from memory, but there’s no question that your audition will be immensely enhanced if you do – not being tied to a book, or Post-It’s stuck to the palm of your hand, frees you to become the character and concentrate on that. As always, we need big, bold and sparkling portrayals from all auditonees.

What is absolutely essential is that you prepare your audition; if you turn up and give the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing, or haven’t thought about the part,
you’re wasting everybody’s time and you will write yourself out of the equation from the word go.

If there’s anything I can do to help you prepare, let me know. On the day, if you get the audition frog in your throat, or your tongue becomes temporarily stuck to the roof of your
mouth, we can do the song again. Remember, we’re all there to get the best possible cast for the show, so we’ll do everything we can to make your ten minutes of torture as painless as possible.

See you then!

David Lyle,
Musical Director.
07766 057112

Duke of Plaza-Toro (Baritone):
1. Act 1, No. 3 (complete)

Luiz (Tenor):
Act 1, No. 4
Act 1, No. 5 (I’ll skip Casilda’s verse and re-start at the repeat of “Bury, bury”

Don Alhambra del Bolero (Bass):
1. Act 2, No. 6

Marco (Tenor)
Act 2, No 3 (complete)

Giuseppe (Baritone):
Act 2, No. 2 (complete)

Antonio (Baritone):
Act 1, No. 1, “For the merriest fellows” (to end of song)

Francesco (Tenor):
Act 1, No. 1, “For the merriest fellows” (to end of song)
Act 1, No. 1, p16 – “Good morrow, pretty maids” (just the two lines!)

Giorgio (Bass/Baritone):
As for Antonio

Duchess of Plaza-Toro (Contralto):
Act 2, No. 9 (complete)

Casilda (Soprano):
Act 1, No. 5 (beginning at first “Oh bury”, then her verse, to end)
Act 2, No. 12 (to end of Quintet)

Gianetta (Soprano):
Act 1, No. 10 (from beginning, both verses)

Tessa (Mezzo Soprano):
Act 1, No. 9 (from two bars of intro to “When a merry maiden marries”, complete)

Fiametta (Soprano):
Act 1, No. 1 (from page 16, letter C; sing “List and learn”, then continue with her
solo lines “Two there are”, to just before “For the merriest fellows”. (Sing the
other girls’ solo lines between pages16 – 19 as well, if you wish!)

Giulia (Soprano):
As for Fiametta

Vittoria (Contralto/Mezzosoprano):
As for Fiametta, taking the lower notes where appropriate

Inez: (Contralto):
Finale, Act 2, p214-215. (If you wish to get your voice exercised before
tackling this, feel free to sing a verse of the Duchess’s song, Act 2, No. 9!)



These brief notes are prepared in the hope that you might find them of help when preparing for auditions.

Naturally, any basic ideas re characterisation will be discussed and modified with the successful applicants after casting. Good luck!

Overall Note: The Gondoliers is one of the most popular of all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. It was the last success of the partnership – their 12th joint work – and it is probably the sunniest and most exhilarating work they ever wrote. Its initial success in London was not however matched by its premiere in New York where it ran for only 3 months and was labelled “the Gone–dollars”.

Rehearsals should prove, yet again, to be particularly exhausting this season as the piece moves at a frantic rate – particularly in the chorus numbers. The principal cast need to be able to give very strong characterisations to bring to life Gilbert’s creations since the libretto is somewhat more dense than the earlier pieces in the series. Lots of dancing (I know you love it!), lots of drill – and most of the chorus scenes involve male and female chorus together! I’m hoping we’re going to have lots of fun.


The Duke of Plaza-Toro: As the Duke is one of the least likeable of Gilbert’s comic characters the successful applicant will have to have a sparkling, witty personality and be light on his feet to execute some of my favourite dance steps. I’ll be looking for a lot of fun, plus plenty of sympathy, in the portrayal.

Luiz: There are various ways of portraying this character and it’s essential to get a good match with the Casilda. Ideally Luiz should be young and personable so that the audience feel some rapport with him as he’s lambasted by the Ducal party in his first scene.

Don Alhambra: Authority, and an ability to command the audience’s attention at all times – that’s all I need in the casting of the Don. A wonderfully droll role – and essential to the success of the opera!

Marco & Giuseppe Palmieri: The entire female population are lusting after, and fainting at the feet of, these god-like specimens of masculine youth. I’ve very little to add, except to say that Giuseppe needs to have authority and be a bit of a leader while Marco just toys with the ladies incessantly. Fabulous fun roles to play!

Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio, Annibale: Four personable young Venetian gondoliers. Antonio needs to be able to really sell the first solo number of the show (For the merriest fellows are we) and Annibale, who has no solo singing, needs to handle the dialogue in the first scene of Act 2.

The Duchess of Plaza-Toto: The Duchess is first and foremost a lady – although a rather domineering one! Probably only Don Alhambra can get the better of her. No broad comedy here please. This is a wonderful stylish role.

Casilda: There are a variety of approaches to this role and a lot will depend on the casting of Luiz. Casilda is rather weakly drawn in the libretto and we need to give her a strong personality. Ideally I’d like her portrayed as a warm tender young girl who is able to turn on the false airs and graces when the occasion demands.

Gianetta & Tessa: Must work well with Marco and Giuseppe to form a group of four charming, vivacious, fun-loving, sexy youngsters. Tessa is the more bossy of the two but Gianetta is the one able to turn on the tears in an attempt to charm Don Alhambra. Two terrific roles!

Fiametta, Vittoria, Giulia: Three Contadine. Preferably pretty with lots of personality, although singing is really the most important consideration here.

Inez: Luiz’s mother. Although a very short role it’s essential that we get a really strong character here otherwise the end of the opera falls to bits. The successful candidate will need to be able to make good audience contact.


It is not necessary to have these memorised. As there are many different editions of the libretto I have not given page numbers below. Instead I have indicated the preceding song to help you locate the relevant piece of dialogue. If you have any problems just
get in touch.

The Duke of Plaza-Toro I am now about to address myself …It is not enough
(Small titles and orders)
Luiz: Nay, Luiz, respect my principles … it must be so!
(0 rapture)
Don Alhambra: By the by, can I offer you … the experiment was tried.
(Dance a cachucha)
Marco: Yes, it really is a very pleasant existence … perfect happiness.
(Rising early in the morning)
Giuseppe: Now, my man … the sort of king I would be.
(When a merry maiden marries)
Antonio, Francesco,
Giorgio, Annibale: All candidates speak Annibale’s lines:
Ah, I don’t think ………adverse decision
(Of happiness the very pith)
The Duchess of Plaza-Toro: It is true that at present … but I did – desperately!
(With ducal pomp)
Casilda: Gentlemen, I am bound to listen … hopelessly complicated.
(I am a courtier)
Gianetta: Bless my heart, how unfortunate … for my money!
(When a merry maiden)
Tessa: This is indeed a most delightful surprise … too much happiness!
(After sailing to this island)
Fiametta, Vittoria, Giulia, Inez: None

If you’ve any queries, or wish to discuss any aspects of the auditions, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring on 0131 669 5723 or e-mail me at making sure the word “Gondoliers” is in the subject heading.


All the best.
Artistic Director

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