Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



David Craven: Have we moved on to that abysmal failure of an Opera Iolanthe? Is it time to list the twenty reasons why it does not measure up to that neglected masterpiece, Utopia or the timeless classic Sorcerer? or even up to those mediocre hits Der Mikado, Il Piratti, or S.S. Pinafore.......

Chomping at the bit....

Marc Shepherd: I think what we have here is another classic example of Craven hyperbole.

David dislikes IOLANTHE, which is of course his right, so he goes on to call it a failure, which it clearly is not (except in his own mind).

I've occasionally mentioned on Savoynet that I dislike PATIENCE, which is MY right. However, I would never call it a failure; it is clearly anything BUT that.

Neil Ellenoff: Please both of you. "Welcome to our hearts again"

Geoffrey Scott: Subject: Please you, do not hurt us...

Oh, dear. I do hope that the fabled Iolanthe Wars of a few years back are not about to start again. At least the irrepressible Mr. Craven is being a bit more obvious about his tongue-in-cheekiness than before.

David Craven:

Top 10 Reasons Why Iolanthe Does Not Measure Up

In the spirit of David Letterman (for those who outside of the US (or live in Sioux Falls where the show is not shown... David Letterman is an eccentric late night TV talk show host who has made a top ten list a regular feature of his show... they are usually, like this list, not all that funny....)

10. Satire is too subtle... It took me 10 years to Realize that When Britain Really Rules the Waves is Not Patriotic

9. Requires Too Many Brains.... The Parliamentary System is really complicated

8. Wrong Name Selected Perola=Funny - Iolanthe=Not Funny

7. Heat-rash.... Peers Robes are too hot..

6. Willis's dialog is too difficult to memorize

5. All of the Faries are Over 100...

4. Tolloller is not as evil as Nanki-Poo or Alexis

3. Show Not Susceptible to "freudian" or "Stanislawskian" analysis.

2. Its Not Utopia


the number one


1. Because it is EVERYONE else's Favorite Show..

Tom Shepard: For what it's worth, I feel that Iolanthe is the most perfectly realized and perfectly balanced operetta in the canon. I'll list my reasons pretty soon, as well as my nostalgic attachment to this piece. For me it is G&S at the absolute peak of their form, in every way.

Barri Soreil: Dear David,

You just don't care for this operetta, do you? Why not accept the fact that it is not to your taste and allow us all the joy we experience from it. It happens to have the very best music, and some of very best lyrics in all of G&S!

Naomi S Rovner: Okay, David, I guess we've got the idea that Iolanthe is not one of your favorites--and you're such a nice young man, otherwise. I think the finale to act I is the absolute best in the canon, but, of course, chacun....regards

Aaron Hunt: Seems to me in my quiet way that Mr. Craven's listing of his opinions as regards Iolanthe's defects is one of the many ways that we may clarify our positions.

I don't agree with anything that he's said so far, isn't he well?, but I certainly think that he is in the right place to say so, and I think that it _helps_ our discussion immensely. After all, just how long would _this_ group of people sit about typing into little lighted boxes about the _perfect operetta_?

Gwyn Aubrey: No one is disputing, I believe, that "Iolanthe" is a wonderful work. What is currently in dispute is whether or not it is perceived as a wonderful work, or at least okay, outside the G & S aficionado sphere.

This takes it to the realm of what the director, cast, etc. did with the piece. The worst singer alive can slaughter anything, and the most effective actor can make something interesting.

Updated 28 November 1997