Opera Scotland

Iolanthe 1903D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertoire Company

Read more about the opera Iolanthe



One Dundee Review

Dundee Courier & Argus: Wednesday, September 9 1903

Her Majesty’s Theatre - Iolanthe

 'Although by no means the greatest of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, Iolanthe possesses a dainty charm which is all its own.  It is a veritable idyll set to music.  In some parts of the dialogue and of the versification Mr Gilbert is seen quite at his best.  Many of the quips are of the neatest, and the rhyming is often extremely comical and quaint.  Sir Arthur Sullivan has written nothing more beautiful, in a simple way, than Iolanthe’s deliciously tender and pathetic recitative and ballad in the second act, or more broadly humorous than the “Sentry’s Song” or “When Britain really ruled the waves.”

'There was another splendid audience last night, not quite so large, perhaps, as that of Monday evening, but fully as appreciative and enthusiastic.  Encores were the rule, not the exception, and Mr Billington had to sing the second verse of the “Sentry’s Song” three times, each with increasingly droll effectiveness.

'The performance last night was notable for the success scored by Miss Lulu Evans in the title role.  At first she scarcely succeeded in suggesting the tender grace of the part, but later, and especially in the beautiful scene with the Lord Chancellor, she spoke and acted with true feeling.  Her singing of the recitative and Ballad, to which we have already referred, was a splendid bit of artistic work, full of pathos and expressiveness.  Miss Theresa Rassam made a most stately Queen of the Fairies, and sang “Oh, foolish fay,” with delightful spirit and sympathy.  Miss Maguire as Phyllis looked as pretty as the proverbial peach, but she was scarcely in so perfect voice as on Monday evening.  She was at her best in the duets with Strephon, capitally played by Mr G Villiers Arnold, and in the quartet with Messrs Scott Russell, Wilson, and Billington, “In Friendship’s Name,” which was one of the most effectively-sung numbers in the work.  Misses Bessell Adams, Jessie Rose, and Jessie Vince, as Celia, Leila, and Fleta looked charming, and acted and sang delightfully.

'Mr Billington does not appear in Iolanthe till the second act, and even then he has not much to do.  But his singing of the great song when the curtain rises is inimitable, and his bye-play is full of quaintest humour.  Mr Scott Russell was in capital voice, and he and Mr Frank Wilson, as Tolloller and Mountararat respectively, played and sang admirably.  Mr C H Workman was delightful as the Lord Chancellor.  He spoke his words with enjoyable crispness, and the brilliant patter song was sung with sparkling clearness and humour.

'The chorus singing was not quite so satisfactory as we have heard it.  The male voices are of fine quality, but the sopranos and altos were a little thin in tone, and there was at times a want of precision.  The band, specially in the finale of the first act, was too loud for the voices.

'Iolanthe was preceded by Bob, in which Miss Jessie Rose made a bewitching Minnie Hill, and Miss Lulu Evans a smart Lady Mabel.  Mr G Villiers Arnold gave a capital bit of character acting as Mons. Sarsenet, and Mr Strafford Moss sang well as Bob Berkeley.

'To-night The Pirates of Penzance will be played, preceded by Bob.'

Performance Cast

Celia a Fairy

Bessell Adams (Sep 8)

Leila a Fairy

Jessie Rose (Sep 8)

Fleta a Fairy

Jessie Vince (Sep 8)

Queen of the Fairies

Theresa Rassam (Sep 8)

Iolanthe a Fairy, Strephon's Mother

Lulu Evans (Sep 8)

Strephon an Arcadian Shepherd

Mr G Villiers Arnold (Sep 8)

Phyllis an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward in Chancery

Norah Maguire (Sep 8)

Earl of Mountararat

Frank Wilson (Sep 8)

Earl Tolloller

Scott Russell (Sep 8)

Lord Chancellor

Charles Workman (Sep 8)

Private Willis B Company, 1st Grenadier Guards

Fred Billington (Sep 8)

Production Cast


Mr P W Halton (Sep 8)

Performance DatesIolanthe 1903

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

8 Sep, 19.30

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