|Iolanthe > Reviews > Original Run
The fanciful opera that has followed "Patience'' at the Savoy is more conducive to merriment than the æsthetic piece was, and abounds with captivating melodies which are sure to be sung in many a drawing-room this Christmas. "Iolanthe; or, the Peer and the Peri," does not give itself so many catching airs as "Patience" did, albeit comic vocalists will not be lacking this yuletide to emulate the humour of Mr. George Grossmith.
"Iolanthe" is worthy the whimsical genius of Mr. W. S. Gilbert, and the tuneful muse of Dr. Arthur Sullivan. Opening in an Arcadian landscape, "Iolanthe" relates the pathetic story of the charming fairy Iolanthe (Miss Jessie Bond), who, escaping from Fairy-land to Earth, marries a Lord Chancellor (Mr. George Grossmith), and has a half-and-half son (half fairy, half human), Strephon. This Strephon (Mr. Richard Temple) falls in love with a lovely ward in Chancery, Phyllis (Miss Leonora Braham), who is also beloved by the very susceptible Lord Chancellor, and by Lord Mountararat (Mr. R. Barrington) and the Earl of Tolloller (Mr. Durward Lely).
How Phyllis is divertingly rescued from this embarrassment of riches in the way of lovers by an incursion of fairies into Palace-yard; how the Queen Fairy (Miss Alice Barnett) follows the example of "La Grande Duchesse," and mates with a stalwart private soldier; and how the Lord Chancellor and the whole House of Peers pair of with the bevy of graceful fairies — must be seen at the Savoy. "Iolanthe", was an instant success.
MM. Gilbert and Sullivan were roundly cheered as joint authors of this, amusing opera. Mr. D'Oyly Carte was similarly applauded for the good taste with which it was produced in the brightest and most comfortable of London theatres, and the only one that is wholly lit by the Swan Electric Light.
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