The Sorcerer (1877) is the first full-length example of what came to be known as the Savoy operas (although the Savoy Theatre had yet to be built.) D'Oyly Carte asked Gilbert for a comic operetta that would serve as the centerpiece for an evening's entertainment. Gilbert rummaged around in his published comic verse and hit on the tale of a respectable Cockney businessman who happened to be a sorcerer, a purveyer of blessings (not much called for) and curses (very popular).
With The Sorcerer, the D'Oyly Carte repertory and production system came into being. Until this time, Gilbert had been forced to contend with casts built around one or two established stars, as had been the case with Thespis, a casually collected group of supporting players and a pick-up band of musicians. From The Sorcerer onwards, Gilbert would no longer hire stars, he would create them. Gilbert hired the performers, subject to veto from Sullivan on purely musical grounds. He oversaw the designs of sets and costumes. He directed the performers on stage. Sullivan oversaw musical preparation..
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