Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



William Jones: My experience in Iolanthe was with a very fine, handsome, young bass as Strephon. He was the right age, the right look, a consummate musician, and, at least at that time, accepted as the finest bass voice in the metro-Detroit area.

I'm sorry to report that it was, for me, a bit like hearing Sam Ramey sing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning", which turns into comedy in my ear, it simply isn't his "fach" (pronounced by-the-by, at least by yours truly, with a great deal of lower jaw and much spittle), and I can't take it seriously.

I didn't like the duets, and "If We're Weak Enough" is a piece I can hum all day and never get seasick. The Phylis (there, I've spelled it right, finally!) was a very fine, full lyric, and, although she looked in her early twenties, she was in fact in her early thirties, so the voice was quite rich. Still and all, it always seemed like Strephon was overly pompous, and, despite much youthful verve, I felt that their response from the audience was less than the sum of the parts.

Lovely idea. Doesn't work, for me, I'm afraid.

And of course Strephon can be done by a tenor, Domingo just couldn't fit it into his schedule when he was the right age.

Updated 28 November 1997