Penny Dreadful: From True Crime to FictionThe Madding Crowd: 18th Century LondonBloodletting: Barber Surgeons and Early MedicineThe Play's the Thing: From Melodrama to Musical
A String of Pearls
Sweeney Todd
Mrs. Lovett
Tobias Ragg
Judge Turpin
The Beadle
Anthony Hope
Adolfo Pirelli
Beggar Woman
Stephen Sondheim
San Francisco Symphony
Ellen M. Krass Productions
Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert
The Beadle
Click for RealAudio Audio clip: Ladies in Their Sensitivities. Requires RealAudio

The Beadle does not exist in any of the early versions of the demon barber story, nor does he appear in the Dibdin-Pitt melodrama. But he is clearly born out of the duplicity and hypocrisy displayed by such penny dreadful characters as Dr. Lupin and Jonas Fogg. In the Christopher Bond play, the Beadle is a cunning ally of the judge in his plot against Sweeney Todd, and he achieves an equal level of dastardliness himself. The Beadle also serves as another tasty victim for the demon barber. As in the original String of Pearls, the growing intensity of the odor rising from the basement kitchen underneath Mrs. Lovett's pie shop begins to arouse suspicion, so the Beadle is sent to investigate. It doesn't take long for Sweeney to even the score.

John Aler

Photo of John AlerJohn Aler made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 1978 in the Berlioz Requiem and returned most recently in 1997, in the Mozart Requiem. He has performed around the world, including performances in London, Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Madrid, Lyon and Brussels. He is featured on more than fifty recordings, including the recent solo collection Songs We Forgot to Remember (Delos), The Merry Widow with the Glyndebourne Opera (EMI), a collection of Berlioz songs (Deutsche Grammophon) and Stravinsky's Pulcinella and Reynard with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (Teldec). In 1985 he won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Soloist for his Telarc recording of the Berlioz Requiem with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony. He is also featured on two 1994 Grammy-winning recordings - as Jupiter in Handel's Semele for Deutsche Grammophon, and in Bartok's The Wooden Prince and Cantata Profana with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony, also on DG.

Anthony HopeNext


Home  -  I. Penny Dreadful  -  II. The Madding Crowd  -  III. Bloodletting
IV. The Play's the Thing  -  Recipes

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