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The Gondoliers
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The scene is set in Venice, around 1750.
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The show opens with the Contadine gathering to greet Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri - the hansomest of the Gondoliers. The ladies sing as they bundle their roses, white and red, and ignore the advances of the other Gondoliers as it is rumoured that Marco and Giuseppe will announce their choice of wives.
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Marco and Giuseppe arrive by gondola and proceed to woo the ladies.
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Then, being indifferent as to whom they should pick, they agree that fate should decide. They are blindfolded and their brides are the first two they catch. Gianetta and Tessa are selected as brides and the remaining Contadine find partners among the other Gondoliers and they leave to prepare for the upcoming weddings.
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We now meet the Duke of Plaza-Toro, his wife the duchess, their daughter Casilda and Luiz, the drummer boy. Having just arrived by sea from Spain they are not feeling very well. The Duke reveals that they are in Venice to find the son of the late King of Barataria to whom Casilda was married in infancy just before the prince was kidnapped by the grand inquisitor to protect him from the wayward religious ways of the King.
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This is all news to Casilda, but also a bit inconvenient as she happens to be head over heals in love with Luiz. When the Duke and Duchess go to arrange a meeting with the Grand Inquisitor, Casilda breaks the news to Luiz. They remember old times, sing and embrace - possibly for the last time.
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The Grand Inquisitor returns with the Duke and Duchess and drops another bombshell. When he kidnapped the young prince, he entrusted him the care of an aging gondolier who had a son about the same age. The aging gondolier had a weakness for alcohol and in the end could not tell his sons apart. So, while the Grand Inquisitor knows exactly where the prince is, he is not sure which of the brothers it is. Only their nurse can possibly now tell them apart - so she must be fetched.
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It turns out, of course, that the brothers in question are the newly married Marco and Giuseppe. The Grand Inquisitor tracks them down and breaks the news to them that one of them is actually a King. The republican gondoliers are horrified, but manage to agree to give it a shot as long as they can give their friends positions in the court. It is agreed that they will reign jointly until it is determined which is the rightful king.
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Everyone is now quite excited. Tessa and Gianetta realise that one of them is now a queen and Marco and Giuseppe explain the situation to all their friends.
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The Grand Inquisitor, having realised that there is a bit of a problem with the brothers being married, has stated that the women may not accompany the gondoliers on their trip to Barataria where they must go to take up Court. A tearful farewell sees the gondoliers depart for Barataria and the Contadine left behind in Venice.
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Act two opens in Barataria where Marco and Giuseppe have created a court in which it seems they do all the work.  Everyone is treated equally and it seems that their friends may be taking advantage of them.
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As their work wears them down, their thoughts turn to the wives they left behind in Venice.
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Suddenly, who should appear but all the Contadine - having risked their necks sailing from Venice to check up on their men.  And sure enough, Gianetta and Tessa are with them.  Time for a dance!
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Just as suddenly, the party stops when the Grand Inquisitor arrives.  He is perturbed to find the 'wives' there and has to break it to them that since the real king was married in infancy, one of the brothers is an unintentional bigamist.
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It doesn't take long for Gianetta and Tessa to realise that this news means that neither of them is actually a queen and, moreover, one of them is not even married.  They proceed to analyse their situation In A Contemplative Fashion.
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The Duke of Plaza-Toro then arrives on the scene with much pomp now that he is the father of the Queen.  Casilda, still unsure about this arranged marriage, is consoled by her mother who relates the tale of how she tamed Casilda's father.
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When the Duke and Duchess and Casilda finally meet Marco and Guiseppe, the Duke is under whelmed at their manners and tries to teach the brothers something about court etiquette.
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When the Duke and Duchess leave Casilda alone with the rather uncomfortable Marco and Giuseppe, the brothers decide to break the news to Casilda that they are in love with someone else - in point of fact their wives!  Casilda admits that she, too, is in love with someone else.  Gianetta and Tessa show up and the five of them consider their Case Unprecedented.
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The end is in sight, however, when the Grand Inquisitor appears with Marco and Guiseppe's nurse.  She is forced to identify the real king and, after some persuasion, admits that she swapped babies just prior to the kidnapping and that the real king is actually none other that Luiz.
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This is good news all round!  Luiz and Casilda are reunited, Marco and Gianetta and Giuseppe and Tessa can at last begin their honeymoon.
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The Gondoliers are now free to return to the canals of Venice, the contadine have their gondoliers, Luiz has his crown, Casilda has her king, the Duke and Duchess have a financially sound future.  They all live happily ever after!