Utopia, Limited

UtopiaLtd_booklet

 

Mr Goldbury’s Song ‘Limited Liability’ from Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Utopia, Limited

By W. S. Gilbert (lyrics) and Arthur Sullivan (music)
Sung by Michael Rayner
D’Oyly Carte 1975 recording, You Tube (courtesy of thesafekind) | Wikipedia | Haiti Chery

Introduction.   Collaborators W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) composed 14 highly successful comic operas from 1871 to 1896, including the popular Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.

By contrast, Utopia, Limited, a prescient operetta about the dangers of corporatism, is fairly obscure. It dates from 1893 and is one of the duo’s final operattas. Utopia, Limited was only moderately successful when first performed, and it practically disappeared until after the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company recorded it in 1975.

The recording includes Limited Liability, sung below by Michael Rayner. Rayner began his operatic career relatively late, after stopping work as a Company Director and Sales Manager in his family’s car dealership. He joined the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1971, only after his first two years as a professional singer.

Dady Chery, Editor
Haiti Chery

 

Poster of Utopia, Limited, courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

VIDEO: Mr. Goldsbury explains limited liability.

 

Limited Liability: Mr. Goldbury’s Song

Some seven men form an Association
(if possible, all Peers and Baronets),
They start off with a public declaration
To what extent they mean to pay their debts.

That’s called their Capital:  if they are wary
They will not quote it at a sum immense.
The figure’s immaterial — it may vary
From eighteen million down to eighteenpence.

I should put it rather low;
The good sense of doing so
Will be evident at once to any debtor.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

They then proceed to trade with all who’ll trust `em,
Quite irrespective of their capital
(It’s shady, but it’s sanctified by custom);
Bank, Railway, Loan, or Panama Canal.

You can’t embark on trading too tremendous–
It’s strictly fair, and based on common sense–
If you succeed, your profits are stupendous–
And if you fail, pop goes your eighteenpence.

Make the money-spinner spin!
For you only stand to win,
And you’ll never with dishonesty be twitted.

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

If you come to grief, and creditors are craving
(For nothing that is planned by mortal head
Is certain in this Vale of Sorrow — saving
That one’s Liability is Limited),–

Do you suppose that signifies perdition?
If so you’re but a monetary dunce–
You merely file a Winding-Up Petition,
And start another Company at once!

Though a Rothschild you may be
In your own capacity,
As a Company you’ve come to utter sorrow–

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

 

Entire play available here.

Sources:  D’Oyly Carte recording from 1975, You Tube (courtesy of thesafekind) | Wikipedia | Internet Archive Open Library | Haiti Chery

Related:
The 1% Are the Very Best Destroyers of Wealth the World Has Ever Seen
Revealed – the Capitalist Network that Runs the World

 

 

Mr Goldbury’s Song ‘Limited Liability’ from the operetta Utopia Limited

By W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Sung by Michael Rayner in the 1975 D’Oyly Carte recording
You Tube (courtesy of thesafekind)
From the 1975 D’Oyly Carte recording, sung by Michael Rayner. With lyrics.

http://wn.com/UTOPIA_LIMITED_Mr_Goldbury%27s_Song_Gilbert_Sullivan

By W. S. Gilbert
(from The Bab Ballads, circa 1868)

Some seven men form an Association
(if possible, all Peers and Baronets),
They start off with a public declaration
To what extent they mean to pay their debts.

That’s called their Capital:  if they are wary
They will not quote it at a sum immense.
The figure’s immaterial — it may vary
From eighteen million down to eighteenpence.

I should put it rather low;
The good sense of doing so
Will be evident at once to any debtor.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

They then proceed to trade with all who’ll trust `em,
Quite irrespective of their capital
(It’s shady, but it’s sanctified by custom);
Bank, Railway, Loan, or Panama Canal.

You can’t embark on trading too tremendous–
It’s strictly fair, and based on common sense–
If you succeed, your profits are stupendous–
And if you fail, pop goes your eighteenpence.

Make the money-spinner spin!
For you only stand to win,
And you’ll never with dishonesty be twitted.

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

If you come to grief, and creditors are craving
(For nothing that is planned by mortal head
Is certain in this Vale of Sorrow — saving
That one’s Liability is Limited),–

Do you suppose that signifies perdition?
If so you’re but a monetary dunce–
You merely file a Winding-Up Petition,
And start another Company at once!

Though a Rothschild you may be
In your own capacity,
As a Company you’ve come to utter sorrow–

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

King: And do I understand you that Great Britain upon this joing stock principle is governed?
Goldbury: We haven’t come to that exactly, but we’re tending rapidly in that direction.
The date’s not distant.”

Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911)
and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896,
of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.[1]

Utopia, Limited (1893), their penultimate opera, was a very modest success, and their last,
The Grand Duke (1896) was an outright failure.[76] Neither work entered the “canon” of regularly
performed Gilbert and Sullivan works until the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company made the first complete
professional recordings of the two operas in the 1970s.

 

 

Mr Goldbury’s Song ‘Limited Liability’ from the operetta Utopia Limited

By W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Sung by Michael Rayner in the 1975 D’Oyly Carte recording
You Tube (courtesy of thesafekind)
From the 1975 D’Oyly Carte recording, sung by Michael Rayner. With lyrics.

http://wn.com/UTOPIA_LIMITED_Mr_Goldbury%27s_Song_Gilbert_Sullivan

By W. S. Gilbert
(from The Bab Ballads, circa 1868)

Some seven men form an Association
(if possible, all Peers and Baronets),
They start off with a public declaration
To what extent they mean to pay their debts.

That’s called their Capital:  if they are wary
They will not quote it at a sum immense.
The figure’s immaterial — it may vary
From eighteen million down to eighteenpence.

I should put it rather low;
The good sense of doing so
Will be evident at once to any debtor.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

When it’s left to you to say
What amount you mean to pay,
Why, the lower you can put it at, the better.

They then proceed to trade with all who’ll trust `em,
Quite irrespective of their capital
(It’s shady, but it’s sanctified by custom);
Bank, Railway, Loan, or Panama Canal.

You can’t embark on trading too tremendous–
It’s strictly fair, and based on common sense–
If you succeed, your profits are stupendous–
And if you fail, pop goes your eighteenpence.

Make the money-spinner spin!
For you only stand to win,
And you’ll never with dishonesty be twitted.

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

For nobody can know,
To a million or so,
To what extent your capital’s committed!

If you come to grief, and creditors are craving
(For nothing that is planned by mortal head
Is certain in this Vale of Sorrow — saving
That one’s Liability is Limited),–

Do you suppose that signifies perdition?
If so you’re but a monetary dunce–
You merely file a Winding-Up Petition,
And start another Company at once!

Though a Rothschild you may be
In your own capacity,
As a Company you’ve come to utter sorrow–

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

But the Liquidators say,
“Never mind — you needn’t pay,”
So you start another Company tomorrow!

King: And do I understand you that Great Britain upon this joing stock principle is governed?
Goldbury: We haven’t come to that exactly, but we’re tending rapidly in that direction.
The date’s not distant.”

Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911)
and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896,
of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.[1]

Utopia, Limited (1893), their penultimate opera, was a very modest success, and their last,
The Grand Duke (1896) was an outright failure.[76] Neither work entered the “canon” of regularly
performed Gilbert and Sullivan works until the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company made the first complete
professional recordings of the two operas in the 1970s.

 

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