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The Gondoliers (or, The King of Barataria)

Summary

Twenty years ago when Casilda was a baby, she and the infant heir to the throne of Barataria were married. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared, supposedly abducted to Venice by the Grand Inquisitor Don Alhambra and there brought up. At length, as the result of insurrection, the throne of Barataria became vacant and Casilda's father, the somewhat faded Duke of Plaza-Toto, wished to establish his daughter as Queen. He accordingly went to Venice, accompanied by his wife, daughter and Luiz, his drummer, in search of his daughter's missing husband.

As the curtain rises, Marco and Guiseppe have come to choose their brides, Gianetta and Tessa. While the bridal couples go off to be married, the Duke of Plaza-Toro and his entourage arrive. The Duke informs Casilda of her childhood marriage, unwelcome news since she loves Luiz. Don Alhambra appears and tells them that the Prince is either Guiseppe or Marco, he is not sure which. He will send for the Prince's nurse and, when she arrives, she will know which one it is. Meanwhile, Guiseppe and Marco must go to Barataria and rule jointly, affording them the opportunity to test their "republican fallacies."

The second act opens in Barataria, where Guiseppe and Marco share the throne. Everything seems to be going well, except that they miss their wives. Tessa, Gianetta, and the other contadine, having grown anxious to see the new monarchs, appear and join the court.

A slight cloud appears on the horizon when Don Alhambra enters and points out the weaknesses of Guiseppe's and Marco's system of government. When he learns that Tessa and Gianetta are there, he is disturbed, and tells them of the Prince's infant marriage. This revelation is a heavy blow to their hopes, for not only is neither of them to be Queen, but one of them is not actually married.

Inez arrives to tell the court how she cleverly tricked the traitors by substituting her own son. The rightful King of Barataria is revealed to be Luiz. Thus Casilda is united with the man she loves, and Guiseppe and Marco return to Venice, their wives and chosen calling.

 



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