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Patience (operetta)

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Lillian Russell as Patience in 1882
Written byW. S. Gilbert (words)
Arthur Sullivan (music)
Lady Jane
Date of premiere23 April 1881
Place of premiereOpera Comique
London, England
Original languageEnglish
SubjectAesthetic Movement
SettingEngland in the late 19th century

Patience; or, Bunthorne's Bride is a two-act operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan. It was first performed at the Opera Comique in London, on 23 April 1881. On 10 October 1881, it moved to the Savoy Opera, a new theatre built especially for the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It was the first theatre to be lit entirely by electricity.

Patience was the sixth of the fourteen operettas written by Gilbert and Sullivan. It ran for 578 performances. The operetta is a satire on the mores and extravangas of the aesthetic poets of the 1870s and 1880s. Patience was a great success.

Gilbert originally planned to use his Bab ballad, "The Rival Curates", as the basis for Patience, but had second thoughts about two clergymen in a comedy and turned to the poets of the aesthetic movement instead. D'Oyly Carte sent Oscar Wilde on a lecture tour in the United States to prepare Americans for the background of the operetta.


  • Brahms, Caryl. 1975. Gilbert and Sullivan: lost chords and discords. Little, Brown. pp. 97-108.