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The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   1924 G&S Season

To many people Iolanthe is the favourite opera, and with some reason. This year the production was very good with one or two small exceptions. The peculiar colour of Phyllis’s dress seemed to suggest that it must. have been selected by daylight, while there was surely an error in allowing Iolanthe to make her first entrance in an obviously dry condition, when she is supposed to have just emerged from the depths of a pool—unless one is to assume that even discredited fairies are dry themselves instantaneously by just wishing. The dresses of the peers and fairies were excellent, however, and the chorus work throughout left nothing to be desired. The power and accuracy of the chorus is one of the most striking features of these productions and after a course of Gilbert and Sullivan one finds an astonishing slovenliness in the work of choruses over whose drilling less care and trouble has been taken. The difference is remarkable, and proves over and over again that time spent upon training and improving a chorus is time very wisely invested. There is no lack of brilliant items in Iolanthe. The lovely duet, 'None shall part us from each other,' was exquisitely rendered by Mr. Granville and Miss Lawson, who always work well together; and the many wonderful numbers in the second act were admirably handled. Mr. Lytton's remarkably clear enunciation is, perhaps, nowhere better demonstrated than in the 'patter ' song descriptive of a nightmare, nor is his agility ever more severely tried than in 'Nothing venture, nothing win,' when his various and varied exits with Tolloller and Mountararat were always rewarded with tumultuous applause. The perfection of Miss Lawson's voice added greatly to the success of the concerted numbers in which she took part; Miss Lewis, as Queen of the Fairies, was exactly right; and Miss Sharp was very appealing in the name part. Gilbert's sarcasm at the expense of the House of Lords has not by any means grown out of date, and was always enormously appreciated; but I wonder how many of the younger generation in the audience knew who was the now immortal Captain Shaw invoked by the Fairy Queen?

Mountararat, Phyllis and Tolloller
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