The Poisoned Kiss

by Ralph Vaughan Williams

October 20th, 2019 / 2pm show

A kiss is just a kiss, until it’s a kiss to die for!

Once upon a time a poor young Magician and a young Empress hoped to marry, but her parents forbade the match, so both young people married others. But the magician, Dipsacus, hot for revenge against the Empress – whom he wrongly blamed for his heartbreak – brought up his only daughter, Tormentilla, on poisons, so that the first man she kissed would die. He knew the Empress had a son, and he schemed that his daughter would fall in love with him and thus cause his death. The Empress, however, an amateur magician herself, foresaw his plan and brought up her son, Amaryllus, on antidotes.

Act two opens in Tormentilla’s apartment in Golden Town, where Tormentilla and her maid and companion Angelica are living the high life. But no amount of material luxury can distract Tormentilla from thoughts of her sad plight: because she’s been fed poison all her life she cannot kiss Amaryllus without killing him. Meanwhile the Magician’s Hobgoblins use magic spells to lead Amaryllus to Tormentilla and, overcome with emotion when they meet, the lovers can’t help but kiss. Amaryllus loses consciousness – not because he’s been poisoned (remember the antidotes!) but because he has fainted with joy. Unfortunately Tormentilla doesn’t realize this, and she’s horrified that she might have killed the very man she loves.

Eventually the Empress relents and allows Tormentilla to see her son. His happiness is so great that his mother is touched to the heart — in fact, overcome by the atmosphere of love, she summons her erstwhile lover Dipsacus and they patch up their differences and decide to make another go of it. In true Gilbert and Sullivan fashion everyone is paired off: the Empress marries Dipsacus, the Prince marries Tormentilla, Dipsacus’s Hobgoblins marry the Empress’s Mediums, and the Prince’s attendant, Gallanthus, marries Angelica. As the Empress says, “magic had no power against love.”


Tormentilla, the Magician’s Daughter

Vanessa Naghdi (Soprano)

Amaryllus, the Prince, son of the Empress

Hugo Vera (Tenor)

Angelica, Tormentilla’s Maid & Companion

Elizabeth Wells (Soprano)

Gallanthus, the Prince’s Attendant

Michael Tallino (Baritone)

Empress Persicaria, Reigning Sovereign in Golden Town; An Amateur Magician

Korby Myrick (Contralto)

Dipsacus, a Professional Magician

Armen Dirtadian (Bass-baritone)

1st Medium, the Empress’s Assistant in amateur magic

Kara Myrick (Soprano)

Hob, the Magician’s Hobgoblin

Jeff Myrmo (Tenor)

2nd Medium, the Empress’s Assistant in amateur magic

Barbara Pritchard (Soprano)

Gob, the Magician’s Hobgoblin

Robin White (Baritone)

3rd Medium, the Empress’s Assistant in amateur magic

Diana Olivares (Mezzo-soprano)

Lob, the Magician’s Hobgoblin / Narrator

David Morden (Bass-baritone)