The Savoy Company is proud to return to beautiful Open Air Theatre at Longwood Gardens in 2018 with Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri
Iolanthe is the seventh collaboration between G&S, opened in London at the Savoy Theatre on November 25, 1882. This comical operetta recounts a conflict between the immortal fairies and the mortal peers. It lampoons both the English House of Lords and the idea of political parties but in such bouncy, amicable absurdities that only G&S can bring.
Strephon, an Arcadian shepherd, wants to marry Phyllis, a Ward of Chancery. Phyllis does not know that Strephon is half fairy (his upper half — his legs are mortal!) and when she sees Strephon kissing a seemingly young woman, she assumes the worst. But her “rival” turns out to be none other than Strephon’s own mother, Iolanthe, a fairy (fairies never grow old) who had been banished for marrying a mortal. But Phyllis’ guardian, the Lord Chancellor, and half the peers in the House of Lords are all sighing after her. Soon the peers and the fairies are virtually at war until a solution is found.
Peter Hilliard returns for his sixth season as music director and Bill Kiesling, in his fourth season as stage director, adds his signature subtle twist by envisioning Iolanthe as a fairy tale. Take note of his homage to several Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales intertwined with this classic G&S tale.