Arthur Sullivan was born May 18, 1842 in London, His father, Thomas Sullivan was a bandmaster at the Royal Military College. After attending the Chapel Royal, in 1856, the Royal Academy of Music, recognizing his extraordinary musical talent, awarded him the first Mendelssohn Scholarship. This permitted him to study first at the Academy and then at the Leipzig Conservatoire. Upon his return from Germany, his incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest, performed at the Crystal Palace, made him an overnight celebrity. His early works included a symphony, a ballet, as well as oratorio, ballads, and church music. His first venture into comic opera was the one-act Cox and Box, or The Long-lost Brothers, in 1866. It was written for private performance. Sullivan was knighted in 1883 for his contributions to British music. He continued to work on “serious” music throughout his life, including his grand opera Ivanhoe, produced in 1891. He died on November 22, 1900, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral by order of the Queen.
Featured here are exhibit items pertaining to Arthur Sullivan, his life, and his choral, orchestral, and vocal music, as well as his operas with writers other than W. S. Gilbert.