The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, Inc. has been a mainstay of Chicago's Hyde Park cultural scene since the company's first production, The Gondoliers, in 1960. Incorporated on March 4, 1964, the Company is devoted to the promotion and performance of the musical arts and to the presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful operatic oeuvre.
Our History. On November 18, 1960, a group of Hyde Parkers opened a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers in the University of Chicago's Mandel Hall. From this beginning grew the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, a not-for-profit corporation of the State of Illinois, which has staged more than fifty productions of the G & S full-length comic operas. That original presentation was directed by Nancy Lorie, with musical direction by Roland Bailey, and involved more than one hundred people in performance and production. Most of these at that time were not at all familiar with the G & S tradition. The Gondoliers was staged for the benefit of The Student Interests Program of the University High School, a worthy cause which allowed the group to use the University facilities. The same sponsorship, under the more formal organizational title Adventures in the Arts, endured for the major productions of the Company in Mandel Hall until 1983. In 1983 sponsorship was assumed by the University of Chicago Department of Music. Throughout its history the Company has maintained its status as a strictly amateur group, this standard of purity extending to orchestra and production people as well as actors, and, of course, the Board of Directors. Participants have included community residents as well as University students, faculty and staff, and a not inconsiderable number of persons from outside the community, who apparently have found the Company's ambiance worth a commuting relationship. The extended family of the Company also includes many present and former children, who have thus been given the opportunity to see and absorb, and sometimes participate in, this continuing tradition.