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At-A-Glance

Composed: 1882

Length: c. 7 minutes

About this Piece

Opening November 25, 1882, Iolanthe was the first Gilbert and Sullivan opera to premiere at the new Savoy Theatre (simultaneously with its premiere in New York), then a high-tech marvel as the first theater in the world with all-electric lighting. The plot satirizes British government and law with a confrontation between Parliament and fairies, and the new technology was used to light up fairy wands and headdresses. Sullivan himself, rather than an assistant as usual, wrote the brilliant overture.

-David Fick