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Terence Rees: Wikis


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Terence Albert Ladd Rees (born 24 February 1928) is a microbiologist but is best known as a collector of material relating to the theatre and music in Wales and Britain. He is also a published theatre historian and researcher, and, in particular, is an authority on the works of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan who, as Gilbert and Sullivan, authored 14 comic operas in the late Victorian era.



Rees was born at Barry in Glamorgan, Wales, educated at the local county school, the University of Cardiff (1948-1952), and the University of London (1954-1957). As a microbiologist he spent 1965 to 1967 as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Diseases of the Chest at Brompton in London, and between 1967 and 1981 he lectured in Microbiology at The Institute of Laryngology in London. Rees has resided in Powys and in Swansea, Wales.


Gilbert and Sullivan

Rees owned the autograph score of The Zoo, the 1875 one-act operetta by Arthur Sullivan and B. C. Stephenson, who wrote the libretto under the pseudonym Bolton Rowe. The score was believed lost until Rees located it in the vault at Coutts Bank. He bought the score at auction in 1966, and a piano reduction was published. The operetta received its first modern production in 1971.[1] He also discovered the libretto to W. S. Gilbert's play, Uncle Baby, which he published in 1868, and he found the original 1887 portraits from the original production of Ruddigore.[2]

After considerable research about Gilbert and Sullivan's first collaboration, Thespis, Rees developed a version of the libretto for that work that attempts to correct the many errors noted in the surviving libretto.[3] Rees also prepared a performance version, based on the libretto, which included a few interpolated lyrics from Gilbert's non-Sullivan operas in an attempt to replace the missing songs. A score was supplied by Garth Morton, based on music from lesser-known Sullivan operas, and this version was recorded in 1972.[4]

Rees held in his collection, until 2006, a number of original Sullivan manuscripts, including the operas The Zoo, The Contrabandista, Haddon Hall, The Chieftain, and The Emerald Isle, and a number of major Sullivan orchestral pieces.[5] He had purchased several of these at auction in 1966,[6] following the death of the widow of Sullivan's nephew Herbert Sullivan.[7] Herbert had inherited the scores on his uncle's death, and on his own death in 1928 they passed to his wife, who later remarried, becoming Mrs Elena M. Bashford.[8]

In 2006, Rees donated to the British Library his collection of original manuscript scores, including The Zoo, The Contrabandista, The Chieftain, Haddon Hall, The Emerald Isle, Gilbert and Frederic Clay's Princess Toto, and Edward German's Merrie England and A Princess of Kensington, as well as prompt books for Princess Toto and Haddon Hall, among 19 volumes of materials.[9]


Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Thespis – A Gilbert & Sullivan Enigma (1964) London: Dillon's University Bookshop. ISBN 0900333049
  • W. S. Gilbert, Uncle Baby: A Comedietta, edited by Terence Rees (1968) Privately printed. ISBN 0950010804
  • The Zoo, "A Note on the Libretto" (1969) London: Cramer.
  • W. S. Gilbert and Henri Meilhac, The Realm of Joy: Being a Free and Easy Version of Le Roi Candaule: Being a Free and Easy Version of Le Roi Candaule, edited by Terence Rees (1969) Privately printed. ISBN 0950010812
  • "W. S. Gilbert and the London Pantomime Season of 1866" in Gilbert and Sullivan: Papers Presented at the International Conference Held at the University of Kansas in May 1970 (1971) Helyar, James (ed.) University of Kansas Libraries.
  • A Sullivan discography Sir Arthur Sullivan Society ISBN 0950734853
  • Rees and Roderick Spencer, Sing With Sullivan (1977 songbook) (Reviewed in W. S. Gilbert Society Journal, edited by Brian Jones. Vol. 1, No. 3: Spring 1986, p. 94)
  • Rees, Terence (March 1984). "Ruddigore Rediscovered". Theatrephile 1 (2): pp. 27–31.  
  • "The Happy Land: Its True and Remarkable History" in W. S. Gilbert Society Journal, edited by Brian Jones. (1994) Vol. 1 No. 8, pp. 228-37
  • "W. S. Gilbert's Sleepwalking" (a new Gilbert discovery) in W. S. Gilbert Society Journal, edited by Brian Jones (Winter 2003) Vol. 2 No. 14, pp. 420-25
Other theatre
  • Theatre Lighting in the Age of Gas (1978) Publisher: Society for Theatre Research ISBN 0854300252
  • Rees and David Wilmore, British Theatrical Patents, 1801-1900 (1996) Society for Theatre Research ISBN 0854300589


  1. ^ The Zoo at the G&S Discography
  2. ^ Rees (1984), pp. 27–31
  3. ^ Rees (1964), pp. 101-45
  4. ^ Annotated libretto to Thespis, prepared by Ian Bond, noting Rees' additions for the performance version. The interpolated songs do not appear in Rees' 1964 book. The LP recording was conducted by Roderick Spencer with the Fulham Light Operatic Society. Rare Recorded Editions SRRE 132/3.
  5. ^ Ric Wilson website containing information about G&S collections
  6. ^ Sotheby & Co Catalogue, 13 June 1966
  7. ^ The Times 14 June 1966, p. 12
  8. ^ A list of the sales is found in the Gilbert and Sullivan Journal, v.9, no. 3, September 1966, p. 44
  9. ^ See the British Library catalogue


  • Rees, Terence (1964). Thespis – A Gilbert & Sullivan Enigma. London: Dillon's University Bookshop.  


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