Iolanthe is a brilliantly funny fantasy. It’s a topsy-turvy worldview, typical ofGilbert & Sullivan, in which life in the fairy world and Parliament is reversed.
Phyllis and Strephon (half man, half-fairy) wish to marry, but as Phyllis is a ward of court, she requires the Lord Chancellor’s permission. The Lord Chancellor, however, wants her for himself.
Sullivan’s ever-melodious musical score matches Gilbert’s libretto in satirising the vanities and egos of the peers of the realm. And, just for good measure,Iolanthetargets the celebrity culture of the day. There are thinly disguised portraits of the good and the great of late Victorian society. There are side swipes at Queen Victoria, John Brown (her personal servant and ‘close companion’), Lord Randolph Churchill (reformist Tory) and William Gladstone (the serving Liberal PM).
Cal McCrystal returns to direct this successful operetta, bringing his characteristic and joyfully chaotic physical comedy, irreverence and brilliant wordplay. Outstanding formerENO Harewood Artist, Samantha Price, leads a cast of ENO favourites – including baritone Marcus Farnsworth as Strephon.