National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company star Richard Gauntlett is the very model of a modern English patter man.
There were patter songs before and there have been patter songs since, but none have stood the test of time and remained as popular and well-known as those in the Gilbert & Sullivan canon.
The words just tumble over each over as they are despatched with the speed and alacrity of an Olympian sprinter.
And Richard is one of the very best deliverers.
This week he is the patterman and principal comedian in the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company’s productions at Buxton Opera House.
He performs at Ko-Ko in The Mikado on Tuesday, August 4, the haughty Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers on August 5 and Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore on August 6 and 8.
Said Richard, “The patter songs can be fiendishly difficult and good enunciation is absolutely vital to make sure that the audience can hear and understand the razor sharp wit that made W S Gilbert the absolute master of patter.”
Certainly nobody before and nobody since has ever managed to equal Gilbert’s wizardry with words in the patter songs and there is no doubt that these hilarious stand-out songs have ensured that the operas are as popular today as they were 100 years ago.