IOLANTHE – Somerset Opera

IOLANTHE - Somerset Opera

Friday, 25th March 2022 - 7:30pm

Tickets: Adults £10, Friends £9.50, Students/Unemployed £5

Iolanthe was Gilbert and Sullivan’s their fourth major collaboration and, like most of their operas, it’s a not-so-subtle dig at some pillar of the British establishment or one of our national characteristics.

In this case the House of Lords is the victim (a soft target if ever there was one).  Mix in an unlikely bunch of meddling fairies, two rather thick peers, a philosophising soldier and an Arcadian shepherd and you have a ridiculous (but very funny) plot set to some of the most sublime music Sullivan ever wrote.  Like Mendelssohn, the fairy theme seemed to spark his genius for creating lovely melodies.

At Iolanthe’s first performance in November 1882 the opera received a very warm reception and ran for nearly 400 nights – it was the first ever stage production in the world to be entirely lit by electricity (including bulbs in the fairies’ hair, powered by bulky lead-acid batteries strapped on to their backs!).  Thank goodness that LEDs nowadays certainly make things easier and safer!

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