Opera Comique, Aldwych, London
The Sorcerer opened on 17th November 1877 in a small, ‘pretty’ and ‘elegant’ theatre in the Aldwych somewhere between Holywell Street and Wych Street, both of which have now disappeared.
The casting presented many problems as the singers were required to act and the actors to sing, and both in English. The custom at the time of singers using Italian pseudonyms meant that the tenor engaged to create the role of Alexis was forced to shed his title of Signor Benthamo and revert to Mr Bentham.
Neither Gilbert nor Sullivan wanted star names. They wanted performers who were prepared to rehearse at length and work together as a team. They wanted a company, an ensemble, not a heterogenous collection of overpaid stars and underpaid chorus.