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Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Patience'

October 31, 2013

Tiffany Blake, who directs the Colorado State Ralph Opera Center's production of 'Patience' said that the show by Gilbert and Sullivan is so well crafted and so fitting for the time period in which it was written, she decided to keep it in its original era.

Image by CSU Photography.Nov. 8, 9, and 15, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 17, 2 p.m. matinee
Griffin Concert Hall
University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington Street

Patience, (Bunthorne’s Bride) takes the stage at Colorado State.

The Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center at Colorado State University, along with the CSU Sinfonia Orchestra, presents Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan.


  • $10/CSU students
  • $1 for youth (under 18)
  • $20/ public.

Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787) or online.

Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

Comedic opera

Heavy sighs, unrequited love, a hero’s ridiculous vow, and a group of silly maidens – the perfect combination for any Gilbert & Sullivan opera. Premiering in 1881, Patience (also called Bunthorne’s Bride) portrays the absurdity of love and the over-the-top aspects of the aesthetic movement of 1870s and 80s England.

This comic opera in two acts, tells the light-hearted tale of the rivalry of two poets fighting for the affection of a fair maiden, and the zany twists and turns that make this show a classic Gilbert and Sullivan production. Patience, a milkmaid who loved a poet as a girl, refuses to marry him now because she believes he is “too perfect.”

Gilbert and Sullivan 'impossible to not like'Image from CSU Photography.

The production is directed by CSU faculty Tiffany Blake and conducted by CSU and Fort Collins Symphony maestro Wes Kenney.

“Gilbert and Sullivan productions are so comical, it would be difficult to go to one of their shows and not like it,” says CSU opera director Tiffany Blake.

Patience, the sixth of 14 shows produced by the duo, is not performed as often as their other well-known shows, like The Pirates of Penzance or The Mikado, but it is considered to be one of their funniest works, and can be appreciated by a modern audience.

“People who come to see this show will be able to draw parallels between the stereotypes in the show and the stereotypes they have experienced in their own lives,” said Blake, who contemplated modernizing the show and portraying the aesthetic poets as misunderstood misfits, the officers as football players, and Patience as a sorority girl.

But Blake explains that this show is so well crafted and so fitting for the time period in which it was written, she decided to keep it in its original era.

Closer to musical theatre

Although this show is being performed by CSU’s Ralph Opera Center, Gilbert and Sullivan productions can often be closer to a musical theatre show, rather than an opera, because of the dialogue separated by lighter musical numbers that often have audiences walking out of the theatre humming a familiar phrase.

“It is a gem,” said Blake. “I think this show challenges people’s ideas of what opera is – and the sillier it can be, the more fun we can have.”

Image from CSU Photography.Gilbert and Sullivan shows are known for their comedic, satirical content in which “topsy-turvy” love stories develop, and everyone, against all odds, falls in love despite the most ridiculous of circumstances. Their shows poked fun of other artistic movements of the time – like the aesthetic poet movement in Patience.

“I enjoy making fun of art sometimes and having fun with it – we often take ourselves too seriously! Classical music can be fun!” said Blake.

If you enjoy sharp wit, biting satire, and great music, you will love this light opera.

About Tiffany Blake

Praised by Opera News Online for her “…truly virtuoso performance….immaculate tone, good support and breath to spare.”, soprano, Dr. Tiffany Blake, received her DMA in Vocal Performance with a minor in Opera Stage Direction from the Eastman School of Music, where she also earned her MM and was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She received her BA from Sonoma State University in Northern California. In 2009 Dr. Blake was one of twelve interns chosen from applicants across the U.S. and Canada to participate in the prestigious NATS Internship Program.

About Wes Kenney

The 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the Varna (Bulgaria) International Conducting Competition, Wes Kenney is now in his tenth season as Music Director of the Fort Collins (Colorado) Symphony. Named in 2004 to an additional post as Music Director of Opera Fort Collins, he currently conducts three professional operatic productions as well as numerous orchestra concerts and dance performances each season throughout Northern Colorado.

Contact: Carrie Care
Phone: (970) 491-5891