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Northwood Choral Society - June 18th 2022 - 6pm

The Fairies

Iolanthe- A banished fairy - Scarlet Brett

The Queen of the Fairies - Sarah Brameld

Celia - a fairy - Lisa Cuschieri

Leila- a fairy - Alison Atkinson

The Mortals (& Half-Mortal)

Phyllis - a Ward of Chancery - Lesley Dutton / Cathie Nevin / Sally Rodgers

Strephon - an Arcadian Shepherd - Chris Dutton 

The Lord Chancellor/Lord Tolloller - Andrew Bale

Earl of Mountarrarat - Alan Powell

Private Willis - John Ling/Chris Dutton

Northwood Choral Society 

Sopranos: Sarah Brameld, Lisa Cuschieri, Lesley Dutton, Moira Furber, Cathie Nevin, Sally Rodgers, Carol Went, Morfudd Wise

Altos: Alison Atkinson, Scarlet Brett, Jane Connell, Vivienne Forsyth, Faith Harris, Sally Manders, Sue Spurlock

Tenors: Andrew Bale, Leo Hodes, Alan Powell, Peter Sturt

Basses: Chris Dutton, John Ling, George Morris, Graham Wheeler

Conductor - Julie Bale

Piano - James Mooney-Dutton

The Plot

"Iolanthe", or "The Peer and the Peri", opened at the Savoy Theatre on November 25, 1882, three nights after the final performance of Patience at the same theatre, and ran for 398 performances.

Gilbert had taken pot shots at the aristocracy 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. Yet, both author and composer managed to couch the criticism among such bouncy, amiable absurdities that it is all received as good fun.

Both Gilbert and Sullivan were at the height of their creative powers in 1882, and many people feel that Iolanthe, their seventh work together, is the most perfect of their collaborations. 

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. 

But Phyllis' guardian, the Lord Chancellor, and half the peers in the House of Lords are sighing after her. Soon the peers and the fairies are virtually at war, and long friendships are nearly torn asunder. But all is happily sorted out, thanks to the "subtleties of the legal mind". (G&S Archive)

Our version tonight is an abridged concert version with solos taken by the members of the society and narrated by our MD Julie Bale. Sometimes a part is split between a number of singers, sometimes songs that were written for a certain character are sung by different characters or indeed the whole company. We hope you enjoy our take on this wonderful piece of fun as much as we have enjoyed preparing it.

Next Event

Our next concert will be Rutter's Requiem and Carols Saturday 3rd December 2022. Watch this space for more details!

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