Halifax G&S Society
By Graham Robbins By the time that Gilbert and Sullivan reached their eighth collaboration there were signs of friction between the two and that the partnership was running out of steam. But if Gilbert’s libretto is distinctly weak, then conversely Sullivan’s music contains some little gems, most competently delivered in this colourful production by Halifax G & S Society under their Producer/Musical Director, Richard Buxton. Princess Ida is one of the rarer Savoy operas – their only three act work, it satirizes feminism and women’s education, which were controversial subjects in conservative Victorian London. This battle of the sexes contains a whole host of diverse characters; notably Colin Fine in splendid comic form as the irascible King Gama, and Anna Trent in the title role, whose strong voice coped well with the dramatic demands of the score – although it did seem a struggle to actually hear the words at times. As a key feminist and philosophiser Penny McGoverin playing Lady Blanche delighted in the wordy discourse of her ambitious character, and was well matched by Christine Roberts as Melissa, her daughter, who in contrast, falls in love with pretty much the first man she sees. Their duet Now wouldn’t you like to rule the roast was one of the musical highlights. The substantial chorus numbers were delivered with some solid harmony singing, ably supported by a sensitive 15-piece orchestra. Authentic looking colourful costumes and a simple but effective set rounded off this production which runs until Saturday.
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