Letter 4 ~ Iolanthe


Iolanthe was the first of the operas to open at the Savoy in 1882. As the Savoy was fully electric, it was possible to create special effects such as sparkling magic wands for the female chorus of fairies. The opera poked fun at English law and the House of Lords and made much of the war between the sexes. The critics felt that Sullivan's work in Iolanthe had taken a step forward. The Daily Telegraph commented, "The composer has risen to his opportunity, and we are disposed to account Iolanthe his best effort in all the Gilbertian series."


Iolanthe is one of several of Gilbert's works where the introduction of men and "mortal love" into a tranquil world of women wreaks havoc with the status quo. Others include:

Gilbert had created several "fairy comedies" at the Haymarket Theatre in the early 1870s. These plays are influenced by the fairy work of James Planché and are founded upon the idea of self-revelation by characters under the influence of some magic or some supernatural interference.
Learn more about Iolanthe

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan