Following a series of successful hits which have cemented the English National Opera’s (ENO) place as a major home for Gilbert & Sullivan’s works, Cal McCrystal’s ‘all-round, knockout success’ (Financial Times) Iolanthe returns to the London Coliseum for its first revival this October.
One of the most popular productions in the history of the ENO, this topsy-turvy masterpiece has been praised by critics and audiences alike. A brilliantly funny operetta, Iolanthe, features flying fairies, quarrelsome lords, and an ensemble of quirky characters gathering in a hilarious parody on British government, law and society.
Notable comedy director Cal McCrystal returns to direct the revival of his 2018 production, bringing his characteristic slapstick panache to the stage. Described by The Guardian as ‘Britain’s funniest director’, McCrystal is the mastermind behind some of the most celebrated comic scenes in theatre (Mother Goose, One Man, Two Guvnors) and film (Paddington and Paddington 2).
Lizzi Gee returns bringing her brilliant ‘tongue-in-cheek choreography’ (Culture Whisper) to the production. Gee’s versatile work as a choreographer, movement director and practitioner spans across all aspects of theatre, opera, film and television with her credits including The National Theatre, The Old Vic, the English National Opera and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Paul Brown designed the Set and Costumes, which received a nomination for an Olivier Award following the production’s premiere in 2018. A talent of his generation, and sadly passing before his time, Brown’s work continues to inspire today.
Returning to lead the ENO Chorus and Orchestra with ‘finesse’ (The Guardian) is ENO favourite, British Conductor Chris Hopkins. Hopkins returns to the London Coliseum following on from his success with The Yeomen of the Guard, HMS Pinafore and The Mikado.
Welsh mezzo-soprano and former ENO Harewood Artist Samantha Price returns as titular role Iolanthe, bringing her ‘distinctively golden mezzo’ (Bachtrack) to the role. A regular at the ENO, Price studied on the ENO Opera Works Programme, and whilst still a student, made her debut with the Company as Third Gentleman in Julietta.
Frequently seen on stages across the UK, British soprano Ellie Laugharne returns to the production bringing her ‘magnetic stage presence’ (The Guardian) to the role of Phyllis. Following regular appearances with the ENO including Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, and Bill Bobstay in HMS Pinafore, award-winning and ‘electrifying’ (The Telegraph) baritone Marcus Farnsworth returns to reprise his role as Phyllis’ love interest, Strephon.
Making her role debut as Queen of the Fairies is the ‘exceptional’ (The Times) British mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers. Renowned for her ‘larger-than-life presence’ (The Independent), Wyn-Rogers has performed a wide variety of roles in opera houses across the world.
‘With his sure command of the Gilbert and Sullivan style’ (Music OMH) British bass-baritone and G&S specialist John Savournin makes a welcome return to the London Coliseum to perform the role of the Lord Chancellor, following a notable turn as Captain Corcoran in 2021’s HMS Pinafore.
Northern-Irish baritone Ben McAteer revives his acclaimed role of Earl of Mountararat. He will be joined by Welsh soprano Llio Evans who returns in the role of Celia, and renowned British actor Clive Mantle who reprises his role as Captain Shaw.
Returning to ENO, British mezzo-soprano Bethan Langford makes her role debut as Leila and British bass-baritone Keel Watson makes his role debut as Private Willis.
Completing the cast and making their ENO debuts, British tenor Ruairi Bowen will perform Earl Tolloller, and British actors Petra Massey and Adam Brown will perform the roles of Fleta and The Page respectively.
Tim Mitchell is the Original Lighting Designer and Ian Jackson-French is the Revival Lighting Designer.
Iolanthe opens at the London Coliseum on Thursday 5 October for 13 performances: Oct 5, 7, 10, 13, 14, 19, 21, 24, 25 at 19.00. Oct 7, 14, 21, 25 at 14.00.