When: Fri., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 1, 3 p.m. 2015
Gilbert and Sullivan are renowned for their comic operas satirizing England's authority figures, but they did attempt a few more serious operas. The Yeoman of the Guard is one such effort, and the score is widely regarded as Sullivan's best work. The plot, funny at times but not as all-out zany as their better-known works, concerns the goings-on in the Tower of London in the 1500s. Colonel Fairfax is a tower prisoner sentenced to death, but his friends conspire to spring him by disguising Fairfax as a yeoman, Leonard. Fairfax needs to get married quickly, though; if the plan fails and he dies a bachelor, his malicious cousin inherits the family estate. A strolling singer is convinced to stand in as the bride, which angers her lovestruck partner, the jester Jack Point. Things grow more complicated for all parties, and the finale is atypically bittersweet for a G&S production. Winter Opera Saint Louis opens its ninth season with The Yeoman of the Guard at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday (October 30 and November 1) at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts (425 South Lindbergh Boulevard; 314-865-0038 or www.winteroperastl.org). Tickets are $35 to $55.