‘Yeomen of the Guard’ is a more ‘serious’ Gilbert and Sullivan opera and this perhaps accounts for its original lukewarm reception, as it ran contrary to audience expectation. Set in the Tower of London in the sixteenth century, the libretto concerns a jester, Jack Point and his girl Elsie, who plot to aid a war hero who is sentenced to die in the Tower. That hero, Colonel Fairfax, has been condemned to die by a relative who stands to inherit his fortune. Fairfax wants to marry someone just before his execution, so that his bride will inherit instead. Jack sets Elsie up to marry Fairfax, thinking it will do no harm. However, Fairfax escapes and remains in the area in disguise. He spots Jack trying to woo Elsie and gives a demonstration of the proper way to woo, winning Elsie's affections himself. In the end, everyone pairs off except Jack, who loses Elsie to Fairfax and is heartbroken.
This is the Schirmer Edition of the Vocal Score containing all the dialogue and edited by Edmond W. Rickett.