SERENDIPITY brings together two major events on the York arts calendar this autumn.

The first is York Art Gallery's ongoing retrospective of the works of the late-Victorian, York-born painter Albert Moore, entitled Of Beauty and Aesthetics. The second is York Opera’s production of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Patience, W S Gilbert’s 1881 satire of the Aesthetic Movement, at York Theatre Royal in November.

Albert Moore (1841-1893) depicted many beautiful women in classical poses in his paintings and was an exhibitor at the trend-setting Grosvenor Gallery, London, which opened in 1877, when the Aesthetic Movement prioritised mood, colour harmony and beauty of form; art for art's sake, in other words.

"W.S. Gilbert was, as far as we can judge, a fairly irascible ex-volunteer militia man," says York Opera's Pauline Marshall. "It's understandable that, as he looked around him at the languid ladies and affected men of the fashionable salons, he could see that the movement towards beauty in daily life had swung to ridiculous extremes of ‘greenery-yallery, Grosvenor Gallery’ styles of dress and pseudo-medieval posturing.

"Having had two enormous successes with H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates Of Penzance, satirising respectively the discipline of the Navy and the British sense of duty, it's unsurprising that his next victim should be affectation as personified in aestheticism ‘gone mad’!"

York Opera had no knowledge of the upcoming Albert Moore exhibition when choosing Patience as their main production for 2017. "But we're thrilled that there is a renewed interest in the Aesthetic Movement," says Pauline.

York Press:

York Opera's Annabel Gipp at York Art Gallery. Picture: John Saunders

"Gilbert’s two main characters are not painters but poets, Reginald Bunthorne and Archibald Grosvenor, whose physical portrayal in 1881 owed much to the dress and hair styles adopted by Oscar Wilde and James McNeil Whistler. Indeed, Gilbert designed the ladies’ dresses himself and chose the materials for them.

"To create the greatest possible contrast to the pale colours and languid attitudes, Gilbert introduced the men’s chorus, a company of Dragoon Guards. Their words and music echo and mock the culture of barrack-square bravado and sabre-rattling of the military".

Patience has two further claims to fame among the works of Gilbert and Sullivan: it was the first of their operas to be performed in the Savoy Theatre, thereby becoming the first Savoy Opera, and it was the first fully staged work to be lit by electric light.

Looking forward to this autumn's production, Pauline says: "The 1870s/1880s craze for all things aesthetic may have long passed, but Gilbert’s satire on affectation is still as valid and as funny as it was 136 years ago, and Sullivan’s music is at its most tuneful and witty."

Patience will be performed by York Opera at York Theatre Royal on November 8 to 10 at 7.30pm and November 11 at 4.30pm; tickets are on sale on 01904 623568 or at Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics runs at York Art Gallery until October 1.