MALCOLM MILLER at Grange Park Opera's sixth season
A zestfully refreshing production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe for Grange Park Opera's sixth season offered a sparkling musical banquet for a hot summer's evening, the idyllic Hampshire landscape harmonizing with the Arcadian greens and blues of Francis O'Connor's vibrant sets in the newly-built Orangery theatre. This sixth season also featured Puccini's La Bohème, and Chabrier's Le Roi malgré lui, directed by Simon Callow, and was the first season to make use of this state of the art opera house set in semi-ruin of the eighteenth century buildings, elegantly retained for the audience to enjoy with large suspended nets to catch any falling debris.
Jeremy Carpenter as Strephon and Mary Hegarty as Phylliss on their wedding day, in the Grange Park Opera 2003 production of 'Iolanthe'. Photo © Alastair Muir
Iolanthe seems a particularly apt choice since Gilbert's libretto alludes to the Baring family which is connected with Grange Park, the children often performing in productions. The bristling energy and wit of Janis Kelly's direction, Claire Glaskin's dynamic choreography, and the effervescent baton of conductor Robert Dean brought alive this most popular of G&S satires. Both the fairies and the peers were introduced in colourful costume and dashing dances on a fast-moving stage revolve which created ample movement throughout.
Copyright © 30 July 2003
Malcolm Miller, London, UK