Next month Bath G&S Society presents a new production of Princess Ida or Castle Adamant, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s lesser known comic operas. The opera was last performed by the group in 2005 and has been presented by the group on three previous occasions since 1986. Dave Key-Pugh’s fully-staged production approaches the opera from a fresh new angle and will run from 1st – 4th June at the Wroughton Theatre, King Edward’s School.
Princess Ida was the eighth opera in the series, coming between Iolanthe and The Mikado, when Gilbert and Sullivan were at the height of their powers. The first performance took place at the Savoy Theatre on 5th January 1884 – 245 more performances followed and it was only opera to be written in three acts. Although its principal satirical targets are feminism and women’s education, Gilbert’s amusing text also takes swipes at the military, royalty and Darwinian evolution.
In the story, Princess Ida’s cloistered academic life is turned upside down when the prince she was engaged to at the age of one breaks in to her women’s college in order to claim her hand. What will she do?
The opera contains some of Sullivan’s most captivating music with some brilliant toe tapping military numbers and breathtaking arias, ensembles and choruses. Act 2 has rightly been described as his ‘string of pearls’.
The production will showcase the talents of over 40 singers and musicians who will present 4 fully-staged performances at The Wroughton Theatre, King Edward’ School from 1st to 4th June, Wednesday to Friday performances will start at 7.30 pm, the Saturday performance at 2.30 pm (no evening performance).
The principal line-up is as follows: King Hildebrand (Paul Dyson), Hilarion (Philip Styles), Cyril (Jonny Scaramanga), Florian (John Ditcham), King Gama (Roger Taylor), Arac (Nick Lee), Guron (Phil Mears), Scynthius (Nick Burgess), Princess Ida (Ruth McKibbin), Lady Blanche (Juliette Coad), Lady Psyche (Sheila Symes), Melissa (Sarah Nash), Sacharissa (Dee Way), Chloe (Sheelagh Hudleston), Ada (Sandra MacPherson).
Dave Key-Pugh makes his debut as director for the production and musical direction will be in the capable hands once again of Kerry Bishop.
For tickets contact the Society on 01225 400295 or Bath Box Office on 01225 463362. Further details also available on the Society’s website: www.bathgands.co.uk .