Sparkeion and Nicemis

These are the young lovers and require no definitions; but there is some debate about how their names should be pronounced. Most directors assume Gilbert was making puns, so Sparkeion should be pronounced SPARKee-un (something like Sparky one) and Nicemiss as NICE miss. Arthur Robinson (256) argues that the correct Greek pronunciations would be Spar-KEI-on and Ni-KAY-mis. He may be right, but I think we owe it to our audiences to go along with Gilbert’s apparent intent and wink at the correct Greek pronunciations. As Shepherd (263) and Walters (302) point out, Englishmen in Gilbert’s day almost always Anglicized foreign words. Younger readers should be made aware that “spark” once meant flirt.

SPARKee-un, NICE miss