|Review transcribed by Helga J.
Perry, 26 January 2001
Updated 9 May 2002
|"Seraph". The Passing
Music and Drama 1882 December
2 4(9): 6, col. 3
"Seraph" is the pseudonym of Stephen
Fiske (source: A TURN AT THE SHOWS. The Roundabout 1882 December
2 30: 6, col. 2, pgph. 9)
The best that the London critics can say of "Iolanthe" is, that
it was a success d'estime. Here it was a bitter disappointment.
I interviewed all classes of the audience as they
were going out, and, from men-about-town, like Wright Sandford, to lawyers,
like ex-Judge Dittenhoeffer – from rival managers, like Colonel McCaull,
to future managers, like James Collier – from literary ladies, like Mrs.
Gilder, to society ladies, like Mrs. Bigelow – the verdict was unanimous:
The libretto, full of repetitions and padding, and
straining after funny effects, cannot be compared for a moment with that
of "Pinafore," of "The Pirates," or of "Patience." The music may please
musicians; but there is nothing in it to please the public. Most of it
seems like Sullivan's old music played over again in different keys.
However, Frederic Archer will tell you all about
"Iolanthe," far better than I can, in another column.¹
He looks at it from a music stool; I from a seat among the public in the
stalls. Whatever he says will be scientifically correct; I give you the
impression of the unscientific public.
From our different standpoints we always agree.
He tells you whether an opera ought to succeed; I tell you whether it will
succeed. He thought that "Rip Van Winkle" deserved success; I told you
that it would be a failure.
In the same way we agree about "Iolanthe." Mr. Archer
says that the music is musicianly. I say that nobody except musicians will
care about it, and that there are not musicians enough to fill the Standard
for fifty nights.
¹ ARCHER, Frederic. Production of Gilbert
and Sullivan's new opera "Iolanthe."
Music and Drama 1882
December 2, 4(9): 5-6
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