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In Iolanthe, Parliament and the Judiciary are joyfully lampooned by Gilbert in this farcical Comic Opera with echoes of Yes, Prime Minister. It pokes fun at authority figures hopelessly compromised by romantic entanglement, public gaffes and the pressures of keeping up political appearances. Gilbert’s knowing digs at the pitfalls of power mine a rich vein of humour with universal appeal.

The work was produced by Gilbert and Sullivan at the height of their collaborative powers and Sullivan’s memorable music very aptly captures the mood of Gilbert’s text, from exuberant pomp and circumstance through comic patter to tender and fetching appeal. Musical numbers such as the Nightmare Song, Tarantara! and When Britain Really Ruled the Waves are legend.

The work commences in an Arcadian scene with innocent young lovers but transfers to the halls of power where jealous rivalry, class prejudices and wilful misrepresentation are the order of the day.

The Queen Boadicea (Boudicca) monument at Westminster serves as a fitting reference to the powers unleashed when the unwary Lord Chancellor scorns a woman whom he has mistaken for a girls’ school-ma’am together with her “brood” of charges. Parliament is turned on its head and the traditional rules, alliances and privileges are broken. The Judiciary and legal profession are also taken for a ride through references to less desirable practices, antiquated laws and inconvenient strictures of law and propriety of which Gilbert, as a lawyer, had insight.  His  mastery of  writing for this genre provides much hilarity and telling wit, and became his life's now immortal work.

The power of feminine appeal ultimately proves a stronger force than legal bars or affairs of state and the House of Lords succumbs in an exuberant fairy-tale ending.

This sparkling production of Iolanthe is directed by John Goddard and tours the lower North Island in June and July fully staged. The cast of 32 singers and dancers with 24 piece orchestra is conducted by Hugh McMillan; live music at its best, brought to you by the producers of the 2015 Gondoliers and 2016 Merry Widow tours. Choreographer Lia Purcell returns to set the Iolanthe movement and dance sequences:

JGDirector - John Goddard:  John was introduced to stage work when very young and played his first lead role, Oliver, for Porirua Little Theatre at age 12, continuing with various stage appearances. At 16 he branched into other genres with periods of soloist work and three years as a part of a "Rock and Roll" covers band. John returned to theatre in the early 1990's in the role of “Brazencourt” in Opera Technique's production of Lock Up Your Daughters. Since then John has appeared in more than 40 shows, operas, films, television programs and TV commercials. He performed the role of Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of The Opera for Wellington Musical Theatre in 2013 and received high critical comment for the part of Koko in The Mikado for WGSLO in 2014. In  2014 John directed the acclaimed Voices From The Front in commemoration of the ANZAC Gallipoli landings for Porirua Little Theatre, and Sister Act for Wellington Musical theatre in 2016.  He has worked with WGSLO for several opera and operetta productions since 1994 as a performer or as a director.

HMcMMusic Director – Hugh McMillan:  Hugh was brought up in a musical family where violin and piano formed part of daily life, he being particularly taken with the piano from earliest days, starting formal lessons at age 4. He went on to study music, and began employment with the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.  An early highlight was a tour as soloist with the NZSO for performances of the Shostakovich Second Piano Concerto.  In 1977 he travelled to England on an Arts Council grant to further his piano studies. He enjoys taking part in an eclectic range of musical genres but his passion is in piano performance and he is recognised as an accomplished and sensitive accompanist. As a professional musician his work includes teaching piano and theory and accompanying singers and instrumentalists for auditions, competitions and recitals. He is very involved in the music life at Chilton St James School in Lower Hutt, where he accompanies the two main choirs, and coaches the senior students for NCEA performances. He also accompanies NZ School of Music wind and string students from 1st year to 4th year for rehearsals for their end-of-year recital. For many years he has served on the staff of the NZ National Singing School held biennially at the E.I.T. in Taradale, enjoying two weeks of accompanying singers in Jazz, Music Theatre, and Classical workshops and concerts. Iolanthe is his ninth production for Wellington G&S Light Opera as Music Director.

MPChoreographer – Myrlia Purcell: Lia comes from a family of dancers, and began performing with her grandparents’ folk dancing troupe at the age of three. She started her formal ballet training at the age of 6 under the tuition of her mother, a former Prima Ballerina in the United States. Over the years, Lia added ballet, jazz, tap, modern, character dancing, voice, drama, aikido, historical dancing and the Bharatanatyam style of Indian classical dance to her repertoire. Her first professional performance was as a soloist dancer in the “King and I” at the age of 15. At 16, she started university on a dance scholarship, and at 17 was invited to dance with the Oakland Ballet Company (at the time one of the top 10 companies in America). While in the U.S. she enjoyed dancing a wide variety of styles, from performing classical ballet with Philharmonic Orchestras to musical theatre and historical dancing around the Western United States. Beyond performing on the stage, Lia has appeared on TV, and in print, film, and even in a video game filmed on George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch. Lia continued her dance and movement studies in Germany and London before opening her own boutique ballet school in the Northwest of England.

FURTHER REFERENCE MATERIAL: - click on the following links

Wikipedia Summary
Proms 2000 Concert Performance: - A good rendition, music without dialogue, in the Albert Hall (of course).

BOOK NOW: - the following links give booking options and links to Box Offices and Ticketing Agencies:

Southward Theatre. Kapiti, Saturday 24 June 2:00pm & 7:30pm,
Royal Wanganui Opera House, Saturday 1 July, 7:30pm, 
Wellington Opera House, Friday 14, Saturday 15 July, 7:30pm 
Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North, Saturday 22 July 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Napier Municipal Theatre, 29 July, 4:00pm

Ticketing Options: A flexible range of concession pricing and seating reserve options provides wide choice and family and group friendly budget options. Concession pricing categories includes Seniors, Tertiary students and school-age. Seating reserve options are Premium, A-res, B-res, C-res.

Booking may be made on the Web through Ticketek or TicketDirect or at the box offices as shown. Ticket pricing, seating reserve allocations and other details can be viewed on this website via the links above . Note that additional charges may be applied by the ticketing agencies depending on the method of booking and payment.

Group discount of 10% is available for 5-seat bookings and at 10-up a further special deal also yields one free seat per ten paid for at the discounted rate. To secure group rate pricing it is necessary to contact by phone or in person at the booking office or ticketing agent.

Note that performances are at 7:30pm for all venues except Napier (4:00pm) and 2:00pm matinees are also available at Southward and Regent theatres.