Ford, Ernest: Mr Jericho. Vocal Score
Edited by Christopher O’Brien
Mr Jericho by Ernest Ford is a rare and fascinating example of a genre of Savoy opera initiated by Trial by Jury in 1875, yet all but forgotten today. Premiered in March 1893, it was written to precede as curtain-raiser the main, full-length work of the evening. To words by gifted librettist Harry Greenbank, author of The Geisha, it is the only one-act operetta by Ford, a composer who was a key figure in the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, that is known to have survived with complete orchestral music.
The humour in Mr Jericho is discreetly laced with satire of the Victorian class system. When the impoverished Earl of Margate’s omnibus-driving son Viscount Ramsgate becomes enamoured of his pretty passenger Winifred, the forces of chance and circumstance also conspire to rekindle a long-abandoned passion between Winifred’s widowed mother, Lady Bushey, and Mr Jericho, famed manufacturer of Jericho’s Jams. In accordance with the best decorum of perfect comedy, love overcomes all obstacles, and wedding bells ring at last for both couples, as the newly solvent Earl undertakes to promote Jericho’s Jams in return for a handsome annuity.
Published in full score in Musica Britannica Volume 99, and now available as a vocal score, this Savoy operetta, for a quintet of soprano, contralto, tenor, baritone and bass, may be performed either with piano or with orchestra. Instrumental material is available from the Stainer & Bell hire library. Mr Jericho is at last issued in an authoritative and practical edition that will be welcomed by all devotees of the wider legacy of Gilbert and Sullivan, and by operatic societies and other ensembles wishing to revive this sparkling Savoy companion piece.