Gilbert & Sullivan’s melodiously witty Iolanthe returns to the Jerusalem stage in a new production by Encore! Educational Theatre Company. The light opera, featuring one of Sullivan’s greatest scores and Gilbert’s trenchant humour, pits the noblemen of the House of Lords against a group of fairies, who are determined to send the son of their sister, Iolanthe, into Parliament and thus reform the entire legislative system. The “fairy tale”-like story of the plot is a frame on which Gilbert builds a barbed satire on the ways of the British establishment, particularly hereditary peers (which in our day are few and outnumbered by “life peers” appointed by the government and whose titles are not inherited by the next generation.)
Directed by Robert Binder, with musical direction by Paul Salter, choreography by Judy Brown-Davis, and stunning scenery designed by Roxane Goodkin-Levy, the opera features the musical talents of veteran Encore! performers and newcomers, primarily drawn from the Jerusalem Academy of Music. Along with Aviella Trapido, Claire Greenfeld, Mory Buxner, Hanan Leberman, and Daniel Forst, all of whom are familiar to local audiences, the stage will be graced by Amit Hemo, Lior Inbar, and Steven Timoner, all making their Encore! debuts in this production. They will be accompanied by a chorus of 40 peers and peris (Gilbert’s alliterative name for fairies) and full orchestra.
Iolanthe is set to open at the Hirsch Theatre, Beit Shmuel, 6 Shamma Street, Jerusalem on 30 December 2015 and play through 7 January 20916. Tickets are available on line or telephone (054-578-9006, with an “early bird” discount of 10% applicable through 30 November.
WARNING: Iolanthe is full of clever word play and allusions to British institutions (some of which have been updated to reflect current issues in the Israeli Knesset). A Hebrew translation will be projected above the stage, but members of the audience are advised to bone up on the opera’s libretto, available at http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/iolanthe/html/
The opera is both a visual and aural delight and is suitable for audiences of all ages. Come and see for yourself!