H.M.S. Parliament

H.M.S. Parliament, or the Lady who Loved a Government Clerk. Comic operetta, after Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), satirizing 19th-century Canadian politics and politicians, including Sir John A. Macdonald. The libretto, which was published in Ottawa in 1880, was prepared by William H.

H.M.S. Parliament

H.M.S. Parliament, or the Lady who Loved a Government Clerk. Comic operetta, after Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), satirizing 19th-century Canadian politics and politicians, including Sir John A. Macdonald. The libretto, which was published in Ottawa in 1880, was prepared by William H. Fuller and set to Sir Arthur Sullivan's music. Fuller, an Englishman who had emigrated to Canada ca 1870, was also the librettist for the operetta The Unspecific Scandal (Ottawa 1874).

H.M.S. Parliament was written for the McDowell Comedy Co, led by Eugene A. McDowell, an American who toured in Canada 1875-90. Benefitting from the great success of H.M.S. Pinafore, which had opened in Montreal in January 1879, H.M.S. Parliament enjoyed widespread, if brief popularity in Canada during 1880. It was premiered by the McDowell company 16 February in Montreal and later presented in Ottawa, Toronto, throughout southern Ontario, and in cities as distant as Winnipeg and Halifax - some 30 communities altogether, over a period of five months. Highly topical, it concluded with 'a very telling scene between Britannia and Canada on the annexation question' (Toronto Globe, 20 Jan 1880). The book and lyrics of H.M.S. Parliament were republished in Canada's Lost Plays (vol 1, Toronto 1978).


Further Reading

  • Hambleton, Ronald. 'A Fuller version of Pinafore which this month marks its 100th birthday,' Fugue, May 1978

    Lawrence, Robert G. 'Dramatic history: H.M.S. Parliament,' Canadian Theatre R, 19, Summer 1978