Musical (1882)

Musique: Arthur Sullivan
Paroles: W.S. Gilbert
Livret: W.S. Gilbert
Production à la création:

"Iolanthe" a ouvert au Savoy Theatre le 25 novembre 1882, trois soirs après la dernière représentation de "Patience" au même théâtre et est resté à l'affiche pour 398 représentations.
Gilbert avait déjà fait des coups de feu à l’aristocratie, mais dans ce "opéra de fées", la Chambre des Lords est ridiculisée comme un bastion de l’inefficace, privilégié et débile. Le système des partis politiques et d’autres institutions viennent aussi pour une dose de satire. Pourtant, à la fois auteur et compositeur a réussi à coucher la critique parmi ces rebondissements, aimables absurdités que tout est reçu comme bon amusement.

Gilbert et Sullivan étaient tous deux à l’apogée de leur créativité en 1882, et beaucoup de gens estiment qu’Iolanthe, leur septième collaboration, est la plus parfaite de leurs collaborations.

L'intrigue se centre sur le personnage d'Iolanthe, une fée qui a été bannie du pays des fées parce qu'elle se marie avec un homme mortel, ce qui est interdit par la loi des fées. Son fils, Stréphon, est un pasteur arcadien qui veut se marier avec Phyllis, une pupille de la cour de la Chancellerie (Court of Chancery). Tous les membres de la chambre des Lords (House of Peers) veulent aussi se marier avec Phyllis. Quand Phyllis voit Strephon embrassant une jeune femme (ne sachant pas que c'est sa mère), elle se met en colère et crée une confrontation entre les pairs et les fées.

La pièce satirise beaucoup des aspects du gouvernement, de la loi et de la société de Grande-Bretagne.

Synopsis complet

The opening night of Iolanthe was an occasion for what must have seemed a truly magical event in 1882. The Savoy Theatre was the first theatre in the world to be wired for electricity, and such stunning special effects as sparkling fairy wands were possible.

Gilbert had targeted the aristocracy for satiric treatment before, but in this "fairy opera", the House of Lords is lampooned as a bastion of the ineffective, privileged and dim-witted. The political party system and other institutions also come in for a dose of satire. Among many potshots that Gilbert takes at lawyers in this opera, the Lord Chancellor sings that he will "work on a new and original plan" that the rule (which holds true in other professions, such as the military, the church and even the stage) that diligence, honesty, honour, and merit should lead to promotion "might apply to the bar". Throughout Iolanthe, however, both author and composer managed to couch the criticism among such bouncy, amiable absurdities that it is all received as good humour. In fact, Gilbert later refused to allow quotes from the piece to be used as part of the campaign to diminish the powers of the House of Lords.

Although titled Iolanthe all along in Gilbert's plot book, for a time the piece was advertised as Perola and rehearsed under that name. According to an often-repeated fiction, Gilbert and Sullivan did not change the name to Iolanthe until just before the première. In fact, the title was advertised as Iolanthe as early as 13 November 1882 – eleven days before the opening – so the cast had at least that much time to learn the name. It is also clear that Sullivan's musical setting was written to match the cadence of the word "Iolanthe," and could only accommodate the word "Perola" by preceding it (awkwardly) with "O", "Come" or "Ah".

A glittering crowd attended the first night in London, including Captain (later Captain Sir) Eyre Massey Shaw, head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, whom the Fairy Queen apostrophizes in the second act ("Oh, Captain Shaw/Type of true love kept under/Could thy brigade with cold cascade/Quench my great love, I wonder?"). On the first night, Alice Barnett as the Fairy Queen sang the verses directly to the Captain, to the great delight of the audience.

• Overture
Act I
• 1. "Tripping hither, tripping thither" (Celia, Leila, and Chorus of Fairies)
• 2. "Iolanthe! From thy dark exile thou art summoned" (Queen, Iolanthe, Celia, Leila, and Chorus of Fairies)
• 3. "Good-morrow, good mother" (Strephon and Chorus of Fairies)
• 4. "Fare thee well, attractive stranger" (Queen and Chorus of Fairies)
• 4a. "Good-morrow, good lover" (Phyllis and Strephon)
• 5. "None shall part us from each other" (Phyllis and Strephon)
• 6. "Loudly let the trumpet bray" (Chorus of Peers)
• 7. "The law is the true embodiment" (Lord Chancellor and Chorus of Peers)
• 8. "My well-loved Lord" and Barcarole, "Of all the young ladies I know" (Phyllis, Lord Tolloller, and Lord Mountararat)
• 9. "Nay, tempt me not" (Phyllis)
• 10. "Spurn not the nobly born" (Lord Tolloller and Chorus of Peers)
• 11. "My lords, it may not be" (Phyllis, Lord Tolloller, Lord Mountararat, Strephon, Lord Chancellor, and Chorus of Peers)
• 12. "When I went to the Bar" (Lord Chancellor)
• 13. Finale Act I (Ensemble)
o "When darkly looms the day"
o "The lady of my love has caught me talking to another"
o "Go away, madam"
o "Henceforth Strephon, cast away"
o "With Strephon for your foe, no doubt / Young Strephon is the kind of lout"
Act II
• 14. "When all night long a chap remains" (Private Willis)
• 15. "Strephon's a member of Parliament" (Chorus of Fairies and Peers)
• 16. "When Britain really ruled the waves" (Lord Mountararat and Chorus)
• 17. "In vain to us you plead" (Leila, Celia, Chorus of Fairies, Mountararat, Tolloller, and Chorus of Peers)
• 18. "Oh, foolish fay" (Queen with Chorus of Fairies)
• 19. "Though p'r'aps I may incur thy blame" (Phyllis, Lord Mountararat, Lord Tolloller, and Private Willis)
• 20. "Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest" ... "When you're lying awake" (Lord Chancellor)
• 21. "If you go in you're sure to win" (Lord Tolloller, Lord Mountararat, and Lord Chancellor)
• 22. "If we're weak enough to tarry" (Phyllis and Strephon)
• 23. "My lord, a suppliant at your feet" (Iolanthe)
• 24. "It may not be" (Lord Chancellor, Iolanthe, and Chorus of Fairies)
• 25. "Soon as we may, off and away" (Ensemble)

The Lord Chancellor (comic baritone)
George, Earl of Mountararat (baritone)
Thomas, Earl Tolloller (tenor)
Private Willis, of the Grenadier Guards (bass)
Strephon, an Arcadian Shepherd (baritone)
Queen of the Fairies (contralto)
Iolanthe, a Fairy, Strephon's mother (mezzo-soprano)
Celia, a Fairy (soprano)
Leila, a Fairy (mezzo-soprano)
Fleta, a Fairy (speaking role/chorus)
Phyllis, an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward in Chancery (soprano)
Chorus of Dukes, Marquises, Earls, Viscounts, Barons and Fairies

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Iolanthe

Version 1

Iolanthe (1988-07-Cambridge Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Cambridge Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : mardi 12 juillet 1988
Dernière : mercredi 07 septembre 1988
Mise en scène : Christopher Renshaw • Peter Walker
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Commentaires : The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company had lost its Arts Council funding and disbanded a few years earlier - an event described by many at the time as a great national loss. Following sponsorship from British Midland Airlines and a bequest from the late Bridget D’Oyly Carte, the New D’Oyly Carte Opera Company has been formed. With a 60-strong company and a 33 piece orchestra conducted by Bramwell Tovey, the new company has been managed by Richard Condon and thanks to the generosity of the Stoll Moss organisation has been able to re-launch itself with a season at the Cambridge Theatre. (The extended run of “Kiss Me Kate” at the Savoy meant they could not play their
original home)

Version 2

Iolanthe (2008-02-Gielgud Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Gielgud Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : lundi 11 février 2008
Première : lundi 11 février 2008
Dernière : samedi 16 février 2008
Mise en scène : Peter Mulloy
Chorégraphie : Peter Mulloy
Producteur :
Avec : Steven Page (Lord Chancellor), Bruce Graham (Earl of Mountararat) , Barry Clark (Earl Tolloller ), Donald Maxwell/Gareth Jones (Stephon), Maria Ewing (Queen of the Fairies), Sophie-Louisa Dann (Iolanthe), Lesley Cox (Celia), Jane Quinn (Fleta), Charlotte Page (Phyllis)

Version 3

Iolanthe (2018-02-Coliseum Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Coliseum Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : mardi 13 février 2018
Première : mardi 13 février 2018
Dernière : samedi 07 avril 2018
Mise en scène : Cal McCrystal
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Avec : Samantha Price, Ellie Laugharne, Yvonne Howard, Marcus Farnsworth
Commentaires : Cal McCrystal (One Man, Two Guvnors) directs a production that embraces the chaotic physical comedy and irreverence that are his hallmarks. Outstanding young mezzo-soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Samantha Price leads a cast of ENO favourites, including Andrew Shore as the Lord Chancellor.
Presse : ‘If you're not crying with laughter, visit your GP’ The Arts Desk
‘A grand and gorgeous extravaganza’ The Telegraph
‘An all-round, knockout success’ Financial Times

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