The Time Traveller is a one act comic opera with
music by Bryan Kesselman and words by Philip Barnett.
Bryan and Philip grew up singing Gilbert and Sullivan opera. They wrote The Time Traveller in 2011 as a tribute to those great masters of comic opera, Sir William Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan.
Although they could find no documented meeting of WS Gilbert (1836-1911) and HG Wells (1866-1946), Philip and Bryan think it is quite possible that they met.
Gilbert was still writing in 1895 when Wells published his first novel, The Time Machine. Bryan and Philip think Gilbert would have approved of the theme of time travel and might have written an opera on the subject, had he still been working with Sullivan. Their last collaboration, The Grand Duke, dates from 1896. It was a financial failure and the two never worked together again.
Both Gilbert and Wells were friends of Jerome K. Jerome, and both were known to have visited him at his home in St Johns Wood. We also know that Wells himself said that the inspiration for his book, The Invisible Man (1897) came from a comic poem by Gilbert called ‘The Perils of Invisibility’.
So Bryan and Philip have created The Time Traveller as the time travel opera that G&S might have written, though with modern references. It could be staged as part of a longer programme with HMS Pinafore, Trial By Jury or Cox and Box, or used in place of a cabaret.