Opera Scotland

Iolanthe 1962Sadler's Wells Opera

Read more about the opera Iolanthe

W S Gilbert died in 1911, and fifty years later the copyright on his work expired. This meant that the monopoly over professional performances held by the D'Oyly Carte company was at an end. Frank Hauser's staging of Iolanthe for Sadler's Wells opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon on 1 January 1962. It was the first attempt by another British company to perform one of the works, and was a great success. Indeed the production survived the move to the Coliseum, being revived regularly until 1978. The appearance of the show was remarkably traditional in most respects, yet it had a sense of freshness sometimes lacking in the traditional D'Oyly Carte staging.

This lineup is very strong, with Derek Hammound Stroud an ideal Lord Chancellor. Heather Begg's Fairy Queen was almost as majestic as her Lady Jane in Patience would be a few years later. Denis Dowling stayed with the production for years, and can rarely have missed a run, or even a performance. Phyllis provided an early opportunity for Elizabeth Robson to play a leading role in front of an almost home crowd - she sang the part to great acclaim when the company toured Germany a few months later, with the result that she was invited to work there regularly.

The three-week Scottish tour began on 1 October at the Edinburgh King's, followed by Aberdeen then Glasgow - that week unusually being at the Glasgow Empire. The schedule for the Aberdeen week was: Mon Bartered Bride; Tue Tosca; Wed Rigoletto; Thu Bartered Bride; Fri Magic Flute; Sat mat & eve Iolanthe. The other venues saw the same operas, usually in a slightly different order - though Iolanthe always had two performances on the Saturday.

Cast details are from a programme for Glasgow in the Opera Scotland collection and one in Aberdeen City Library.

Performance Cast

Celia a Fairy

Margaret Gale

Leila a Fairy

Diana Chadwick (Oct 13 m & e)

Mirri Fuller (Oct 20 m & e)

Fleta a Fairy

Lydia Conway

Queen of the Fairies

Heather Begg

Iolanthe a Fairy, Strephon's Mother

Mary Gilmore

Strephon an Arcadian Shepherd

Julian Moyle

Phyllis an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward in Chancery

Elizabeth Robson (Oct 13 m, 20 m & e)

Catherine Wilson (Oct 13 e)

Earl of Mountararat

Denis Dowling

Earl Tolloller

John Carolan

Lord Chancellor

Derek Hammond Stroud

Private Willis B Company, 1st Grenadier Guards

Leon Greene

Performance DatesIolanthe 1962

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

6 Oct, 14.30 6 Oct, 19.30

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

13 Oct, 14.30 13 Oct, 19.30

Empire Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

20 Oct, 14.30 20 Oct, 19.30

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