The Zoo in Full Score

zoo_clyde.pngAfter many years in gestation, R. Clyde has published the full score of The Zoo (editor, Roger Harris). This is the same firm that has produced excellent full scores of Haddon Hall, Cox and Box, The Golden Legend, and other Sullivan works.

The volume is quaintly captioned Operas Without Gilbert, Vol. 5. For the life of me, I can’t count four operas without Gilbert before The Zoo; to get to three, one needs to count The Sapphire Necklace, which probably won’t have an R. Clyde edition unless a whole bunch of hitherto lost material resurfaces.

Like the others from R. Clyde, this is a critical edition, with a detailed introduction and editorial commentary. It is a professional job, likely to suffice for decades to come.

There are no new discoveries of consequence. The deleted song for Laetitia, No. 4, is printed with the same conjectural lyrics that the same publisher printed in its 1991 vocal score (“Laetitia waits for her belov’d”). The original lyrics have not survived.

Marked in Sullivan’s autograph score, there are a number of cuts, apparently dating to the original production, and these are noted as optional in the new score. For instance, bars 54–84 of the Finale are marked “cut” in the autograph. This is the passage in which Brown tells Eliza that he has bought the zoo and its contents as a wedding gift, which I suspect no modern producer would dream of cutting: it is one of the best jokes in the piece. There is an even more drastically cut-down finale, which is represented only by a surviving leader violin part, from which Harris reconstructs the remaining elements.

Harris notes that performers and audiences have not found The Zoo in need of compression, so these newly documented cuts are mostly of academic interest.

Harris did the typesetting himself, and it is conspicuously a home-made effort, not quite on the same level of professionalism as his excellent scholarship. However, it is certainly good enough to use in performance. The edition comes in either softback (£50) or hardback (£75).

Christopher Browne now distributes all of the R. Clyde editions. Unlike the past (when Harris did it himself), Browne takes credit cards and can accept payment in other currencies. To order, visit For information on R. Clyde Editions, visit

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