Tag Archives: Gilbert and Sullivan

Patience, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2017

What fun! Just the ticket for an evening out, and Liam Steel’s witty production makes this a fine riposte to the absurdities and pretentions of modern life. Of course, Gilbert’s libretto is poking fun at the sophistry and ‘art for art’s sake’ attitude that infected the Victorian aesthetic movement, personified here by Reginald Bunthorne. He …

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Pirates of Penzance, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2017

What a pleasure to welcome back Mike Leigh’s Pirates, which played to packed houses on its first run two years ago. Leigh, the director of that 1999 film Topsy-Turvy about Gilbert and Sullivan’s collaboration, retains the hard edge of Gilbert’s genius while not stinting on the colour. Indeed the bold colours and central circle of …

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Pirates of Penzance, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2015

On opening night the Coliseum was packed to the rafters for this new production, with the ENO already having scheduled two extra performances. The pre-performance enthusiasm was well judged because director Mike Leigh, who made that wonderful film Topsy-Turvy about Gilbert and Sullivan, has given us a production that is fun without sentimentality or camp …

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The Mikado, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, December 2012

The Mikado himself in this fantasia of English eccentricity was gloriously played by Richard Angas, with Robert Murray excellent as Nanki-Poo, and Richard Suart giving a brilliant performance of Ko-Ko in his 25thanniversary of the role. This vintage production continues to sparkle with bounce and fizz, and is so extraordinarily up to date that Ko-Ko’s …

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Ruddigore, Opera North, Barbican, November 2011

W. S. Gilbert, the librettist for this work, was a master of wit, not just on paper but spontaneously in conversation. When a neighbour referred admiringly to¬†Ruddigore¬†calling it Bloodygore, Gilbert objected, so the neighbour said: “Same thing isn’t it?” WSG was swift as a rapier, “If I admire your ruddy countenance, it doesn’t mean I …

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