Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gilbert Sullivan - Iolanthe / Forrester Donkin Stratford Festival|
Actors: Maureen Forrester, Eric Donkin, Marie Baron, Paul Massel, Katharina Megli
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
From a 1984 performance (live, but with many voices dubbed) at Canada's Stratford Festival comes this version of Iolanthe, the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta in which the residents of Fairyland confront the House of Lords. ... more »
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Not what Gilbert had in mind
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 05/04/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, so many of the lyrics have been reworded that one can scarcely call this a Gilbert and Sullivan at all! Sullivan, yes; Gilbert,no. For some reason, the director has decided to use a framing device: a fairly inept troupe is putting on a production of "Iolanthe." This works to the extent of a few mild laughs but the whole concept ruins the beauty of the work and detracts from the intended satire. Now and then, as in the Act I finale, Sullivan's music is distorted into something entirely at odds with his score: in this case, a minstrel-show beat for no particular reason. So while this is a visually pleasing venture, it is not what the box advertizes. Caveat emptor, you know."
Spirited interpretation of Gilbert and Sullivan
Raymond Burleigh | San Jose, CA United States | 02/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like so many opera films, this presentation is a film of a stage show. Rather than ignore this, the producers include behind the scenes vignettes of the company and stage hands. These brief interludes provided amusing transitions between parts of the opera and were not overdone. The playful spirit is in keeping with the irreverant tone of sirs G&S.It is too common these days for producers to try to upgrade the words of G&S operas, both for political correctness and to make them more topical. This production is no exception. Unfortunately, the new references often are so topical that they have no relevancy a few years later. For example, the wonderful line, "When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte, as any child can tell, the House of Peers, throughout the war, did nothing in particular, and did it very well!" is replaced by some drivel about the mostly forgotten Falkland war. At least the changes are documented in the DVD version.There are no captions or sub-titles available on this DVD, which is unfortunate. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful version of Iolanthe. The players are in good voice and they clearly understand that this is comic opera. This Canadian company ranks among the most refreshing modern interpreters of Gilbert and Sullivan."
Much Sullivan and less Gilbert
Richard L. Wexelblat | Merion Station, PA United States | 03/16/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"While I agree for the most part with the other review, I'll add that the G&S purist will be very disappointed by the arbitrary changes and additions to Sullivan's contribution and very, very disappointed by the pretty much irrelevant local references and such arbitrary re-wordings (e.g. to allow a needless change of "five and twenty" to "twenty five". If you really, really like G&S, give this recording a pass."
Stratford demonstrates zero respect for beautiful theater
Jonathan Ichikawa | United States | 01/17/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In 1882, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan introduced a beautiful opera at the Savoy theater. Iolanthe was at once human and funny, moving and satirical. Unfortunately, this Stratford production seems to have latched onto the phrase "comic opera" and decided that drama and acting are insignificant, and that each scene -- in some cases, each line -- should be considered in a vacuum to maximize comic effect. The result is a series of scenes that betray characters as massively inconsistent and unbelievable, and a show that is much less than the sum of its parts.I don't generally mind rewrites in cases where the original lyrics would be unintelligible; I think it's perfectly reasonable to write "Captain Shaw" or "Ovidius Naso" out of Iolanthe. But to a modern American audience, many of the dated political jokes are no better understood.All told, the musical changes, the lyric changes, and especially the (lack of nuanced) acting indicates a complete disrespect for the original product, and makes one wonder why Stratford is (at least nominally) doing G&S at all."