top of page

The Gondoliers (2024)

The Gondoliers (or The King of Barataria) is the twelfth collaboration between composer Arthur Sullivan and librettist W.S. Gilbert. It is the story of two charming Venetian gondoliers, Marco and Giuseppe, who are informed that due to an error of identity when they were young boys, one of them is the heir to the throne of Barataria. They are delighted with the situation and agree to share the responsibilities of governing their new kingdom until it can be ascertained which of them is which. Matters are complicated when the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro reveal that their beautiful daughter Casilda was married to the future king as an infant. The problem? Giuseppe and Marco are both newly married. Since its premiere in 1889, The Gondoliers has delighted audiences with its sparkling score by Sullivan and the political satire cleverly tucked into Gilbert’s witty plot line.

Show dates: 

Friday, January 26, 7:30 pm

Saturday, January 27, 2:00 pm

Sunday, January 28, 2:00 pm

Thursday, February 1, 7:30 pm

Friday, February 2, 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 3, 2:00 pm

Sunday, February 4, 2:00 pm


Director's Note

Laura Schatz

"The Gondoliers is one of my favourite G&S operettas to direct, as it has so much heart. It is colourful, lively, and filled with dance. It also features the chorus prominently and has so many soloists that it allows a group like MADS to showcase our many talented members.

Gilbert’s satire is lighter than it is in many of his other works. Although the obvious satire of socialism is there, the piece seems to be more of a tribute to the joys of youth and the ultimate triumph of love and optimism. This softer side of Gilbert means that G&S fans who are particularly enamoured of Gilbert’s rapier-sharp wit find The Gondoliers less satisfying than some of their other, more serious collaborations. However, the musical outpouring from Sullivan, beautifully orchestrated and filled with melodious tunes and a special emphasis on dance, are a delight. So, just sit back and let us carry you away with us to beautiful Venice!"

Cast & Directors


Beth Armstrong-Chauvin—Gianetta

Like her childhood hero, Anne Shirley of Green Gables, Beth dreams of puffed sleeve dresses. It is no coincidence then that G&S, where puffed sleeves are ubiquitous, is one of Beth’s longest standing hobbies. Beth is grateful to G&S for fostering her love of performing, surrounding her with wonderful people, and supporting her #FashionGoals! Beth also finds that her years of experience untangling legal loopholes in Gilbert’s libretti serves her quite well in her practice as a lawyer—something she does when not treading the boards, but often in puffed sleeves. Using the art of ageing backwards, this year Beth is thrilled to return to The Gondoliers as Gianetta after playing the Duchess (an all-time favourite role) ten years ago at Victoria College (U of T).


Brian Dearden—Giuseppe Palmieri

Brian is thrilled to be returning to St. Anne's for The Gondoliers, and to reprise the role of Giuseppe Palmieri, which he first performed 10 years ago with the Victoria College Chorus. Some of Brian's other favourite roles from other productions include the Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance (Toronto Operetta Theatre), Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre), and Archibald Grosvenor in Patience (MADS). When he's not performing on stage or booking surgeries at work, Brian spends his free time gardening, playing Dungeons & Dragons, attending pro wrestling shows and metal concerts, and spending time with his lovely cat, Squeaky.


Benjamin Done—Marco Palmieri

Praised for his clear and silvery tenor, Benjamin completed his M.Mus. at the University of Toronto Opera School.  He made his operatic debut as Mr. Splinters in 2021 in UofT Opera’s production of Copland’s The Tender Land. Also with UofT Opera, he performed Babylas in Offenbach’s Monsieur Choufleuri, Ein Weiser in Hindemeth’s Hin und Zurük, Hamlet in the student composer collective Disobedience, and Charles Darnay in Arthur Benjamin’s A Tale of Two Cities. Elsewhere, Benjamin has performed John Adams in Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All (VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert), “Casey” Baldwin in Lorna MacDonald and Dean Bury’s Bells of Baddeck. In March, Ben will sing the tenor solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra.


Jennie Garde—Catarina

          Assistant Director/Choreographer

Jennie did her very first on-stage performing with MADS when she was just a teen, and over the years graduated to play all the saucy young woman roles, which have been lots of fun. For last year’s Sorcerer, she graduated to playing a saucy old mother. Jennie loves working with our fantastic, loving cast on the chorus movement and choreography. She’s very proud of her son Phil, who plays Luiz. She also now does a lot of acting in plays without music. Her last play in this vein was playing 5 different characters (!) in A Christmas Carol with Stage Centre Productions. You can see her in March in the play The Elephant Man at Fairview Library Theatre. She will not play the elephant.


Sean HutchinsThe Duke of Plaza Toro

Sean was introduced to the world of Gilbert & Sullivan through blind fortune upon accidentally auditioning for the McGill Savoy Society in his first year of grad school. During the next few years, he ended up playing the roles of the Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance) and Dick Deadeye (H.M.S. Pinafore) before taking on stage direction for Iolanthe and The Mikado. He is now in his third season with MADS, having performed as the Major in Patience and Sir Marmaduke in The Sorcerer. Sean is pleased to join his wife, Miranda, and his son, Xavier, on stage. In his day job, Sean works as the director of research at the Royal Conservatory of Music, studying the neuroscience of music and its effects on the developing brain.


Marc PotvinDon Alhambra del Bolero

Marc has been performing with MADS in almost every production since 1993, so this year’s return performance in The Gondoliers could be considered a 30th anniversary celebration of sorts. Marc typically portrays characters in the G&S canon who tend to be victims of their own misfortune (e.g. Koko in Mikado), so he finds it refreshing to play a role that is a bit darker, a little sardonic, and more artful in their schemes (some think it aligns better with the cynicism of his advanced age). Coincidentally, Marc is also celebrating 30 years as a healthcare professional, educator, and administer and is looking forward to his 4th decade in this field.


Kate Carver—Musical Director

Kate is so happy to join MADS for her third season. She maintains a private studio as a vocal coach and accompanist, and is a member of music staff at the University of Toronto’s Opera Division, as well as opera music director and assistant conductor at Wilfrid Laurier University. Other positions have included music staff with the Canadian Opera Company; the voice program at the Chautauqua Institute in New York; the University of Montreal music director for Essential Opera; Maritime Concert Opera; and Opera by Request. Kate received her bachelor and master's degrees in music from McGill University, and studied in London, England at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Britten-Pears School, and The National Opera Studio.


Risa de Rege—Casilda

Risa’s past roles with MADS include Constance (The Sorcerer), Angelina (Trial By Jury), and Edith (The Pirates of Penzance). Favourite performances outside of St. Anne’s include Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera by Request, chorus in Candide with the Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Tessa in The Gondoliers with the Vic Chorus, and multiple shows at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in England with the Savoynet Performing Group (ask her about the time she dislocated her knee during the overture of 2023’s Ruddigore). She will return in 2024 as Peep-Bo in The Mikado. Risa works at the music library at the University of Toronto and has a master’s degree in book history and library science, fields in which she is active as an academic.


Tara Ferrier-Clarke—Inez

Tara is delighted to be back with MADS as Inez. Tara has been performing in traditional and modernized Gilbert & Sullivan shows for over a decade with groups in Toronto and beyond. Credits include: executive producer/Maid of Honour in Trial by Jury (ViLOC), Casilda in The Gondoliers (NTP) and The Fairy Queen in Iolanthe (in concert with the Toronto Gilbert and Sullivan Society). When not on stage, Tara is a library technician with the TDSB. Want to see her onstage for more than 10 minutes? Come see The North Toronto Players' production of Chelsea Moor Castle in March (


Philip Garde—Luiz

When Phil was a little boy in grade 5, his school band instructor informed him that, as he had no discernable musical ability, he would be assigned to the drums rather than a wind instrument. Little did the instructor know, 17 years later, every ounce of Phil's resulting percussive abilities would be called upon to portray the discerning young drummer boy, Luiz. Having been performing with St Anne's in various capacities for over half his life, Phil is delighted to return to the cast for the 60th anniversary after missing the previous production. Past favourite roles include Frederic (The Pirates of Penzance), Bunthorne (Patience), and Richard Dauntless (Ruddigore).


Emma LanderTessa

The only thing Emma enjoys more than singing is singing with other people. So naturally, she is thrilled to be joining MADS on stage for a third time to perform this wonderfully fun show. Previous shows include Trial by Jury, Patience, Guys & Dolls, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Emma also enjoys playing violin and viola in community theatre pit orchestras, including her introduction to MADS in the 2019 Pirates of Penzance pit. For her day job, Emma is an electrical apprentice, where she's trying (without success) to encourage sea shanties while pulling wire.


Laura SchatzThe Duchess of Plaza Toro

          Artistic Director

Despite Laura's successes as a director, she is first and foremost a performer. She is very thankful to return to the stage for MADS's 60th Anniversary production, despite many physical challenges over the past two years. The Gondoliers is one of Laura's favourite shows, and she is somewhat shocked to realize that this is her 7th time performing in it. She started out as Tessa, moved on to Casilda, and this is her third attempt to make the Duchess a loveable character! MADS has always been a part of Laura’s life, as her parents were among the founders of the group, and she started performing in it at the age of 5. She feels honoured to carry on this important tradition in memory of both of her amazing parents, without whom MADS would not exist.

Additional Cast & Chorus

bottom of page