sat 13/04/2024

Gilbert and Sullivan

Iolanthe, English National Opera review - still gorgeous but ever so slightly less funny than before

Parliament may be topsy-turvy, with a motley bunch of Lords the only hope in vetoing outrageous bills, but up the road at the London Coliseum a more disciplined company is steering a luxury liner with perfect craft. Cal McCrystal’s best G&S so...

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Princess Ida, OAE, Wilson, QEH review - musical brilliance undermined by textual botch

Sullivan’s score for his eighth collaboration with Gilbert is vintage work, mostly equal to the splendid sentinels flanking it, Iolanthe and The Mikado. On Wednesday night master animator John Wilson did its buoyancy and occasional pathos full...

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The Yeomen of the Guard, English National Opera review - half-good shot at an unusual G&S misalliance

Sullivan’s Overture to The Yeomen of the Guard isn’t quite the equal of Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger – what is? – but its brass-rich brilliance and wholesome ceremonials wouldn’t have been possible without that great example. Cue...

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Patience, Charles Court Opera, Wilton's Music Hall review - bar room bliss

“Twenty lovesick maidens we,” pining in stained-glass attitudes for florid poet Reginald Bunthorne, usually kick off Gilbert and Sullivan’s delicious mockery of the high (or cod) aesthetical. That might have been a problem for Charles Court Opera’s...

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Utopia, Limited, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company review - bounded rapture

Joseph Heller grew tired of being told that he’d never written anything as good as Catch 22. ‘Who has?’, he'd retort. In the same spirit, it’s futile to compare Gilbert and Sullivan’s late flop Utopia, Limited to The Mikado, The Gondoliers,...

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The Gondoliers, Scottish Opera, Hackney Empire review - G&S con amore

Having sung the Gondoliers’ Duet with an Iranian tenor who’d been a big pop star in his native land, I know that internationalism hit performances of the Savoy operas some time ago (this superb but all-white ensemble admittedly doesn't follow the...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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The Gondoliers, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company review - charm where it matters

Once more, gondolieri! Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers leaps into life to the sound of a saltarello: a blaze of Mediterranean sunshine and good natured exuberance that sweeps you some 20 minutes into Act One on the same unbroken surge of...

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Iolanthe, English National Opera review - bright and beautiful G&S for all

Very well, so ENO's latest Gilbert and Sullivan spectacular was originally to have been The Gondoliers directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. But that Venetian fantasia has already been seen at the Coliseum in recent years,...

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Cavalleria Rusticana/Trial by Jury, Opera North review - sombre triumph and pale froth

Pairing Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury makes for a pleasingly schizoid evening in the latest of Opera North's The Little Greats series. Mascagni’s crashing final chords precede a longish interval, and when...

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‘A massive party full of treats and surprises’: Annabel Arden on six mini masterpieces at Opera North

The first day of rehearsals for The Little Greats was thrilling and terrifying in equal measure: the casts of six shows, the whole chorus, all the creative teams and management milling around and talking nineteen to the dozen in the big, reverberant...

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Princess Ida, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company review - sparkling comedy, wobbly sets

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you have to be pretty silly to take Gilbert and Sullivan seriously. But even sillier not to. And positively heroic to revive the pair’s 1884 three-acter Princess Ida: the show which – updated to a...

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