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    pure panto meets blissfully sharp satire
    The i
    a joyous evening
    The Guardian

Iolanthe Tickets

Giddy chaos rules in Gilbert & Sullivan's comic operetta. This satirical story of forbidden love is replete with magic and witty melodies.

Book Gilbert and Sullivan Iolanthe Tickets Today

Magic and mischief abound at London Coliseum, as the English National Opera presents the wonderfully witty Iolanthe. Gilbert & Sullivan's topsy-turvy operetta marries satire with fantasy for an evening of pure delight set in the House of Lords.

What is the story of Iolanthe?

Half-fairy, half-man Strephon is madly in love with Phyllis, but there is one problem: she is a ward of the court and any suitor must gain permission from the Lord Chancellor… a man who wants Phyllis for himself!

Vanity, ego and power collide in Iolanthe, which is Gilbert & Sullivan at their most whip-smart and ruthlessly funny. Sullivan’s melodious score buoys the twists, turns and thinly-disguised jabs at major figures of the Victorian era sprinkled through Gilbert’s libretto, resulting in a story that takes gleeful aim at celebrity culture and puffed-up privilege.

Songs in Iolanthe

This infectiously fun operetta features some of Gilbert & Sullivan’s very best songs, and you will be humming the tunes all the way home! Chief among these are “The Nightmare Song”, in which the Lord Chancellor is kept awake by nightmares, worries about various medical maladies, and an unrequited love for Phyllis.

Other songs in Iolanthe include “Tripping Hither, Tripping Thither”, “Good Morrow, Good Mother” and “Good Morrow, Good Lover”.

Iolanthe Opera Creative Team

The operetta is directed at the Coliseum by Cal McCrystal, who packs in exuberant physical comedy, chaos and wordplay. The cast of Iolanthe includes former ENO Harewood Artist Samantha Price as Phyllis and baritone Marcus Farnsworth as Strephon.

Gilbert & Sullivan are two of the most well-known names in opera, comprising dramatist William Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. The talented duo produced some of the wittiest operettas and comic operas of their time that poked fun at politics and the powerful in Victorian England.

If you are new to classical music and opera, there is arguably no better place to start than with Gilbert & Sullivan, whose work includes H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance.

Iolanthe ENO Reviews

Cal McCrystal’s irreverent production of Iolanthe was previously a hit with audiences back in 2018. Critics praised it as “a glorious night of mayhem, madness and misunderstandings” (What's On Stage) that “bursts with frothy exuberance” (The Guardian). This is undoubtedly one of the most fun nights at the London Coliseum that the English National Opera has to offer, so if you missed Iolanthe in 2018, do not make the same mistake this time around!

Tickets for Iolanthe Available Now

Enjoy an unforgettable night away with the fairies at Iolanthe; this joyful, cheeky and infectiously fun show is perfect whether you attend the opera regularly or are a first-timer looking for a new experience.

Sorry this show closed 25 October 2023, we recommend these similar productions.

The Magic Flute
Performance dates:
24 Oct 2023 - 25 Oct 2023
Running time:
2 hours and 50 minutes including an interval.
Age recommendation:
Best for age 5+
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