About this Recording
8.110317-18 - SULLIVAN: Princess Ida (Morgan, Round, Godfrey) (1954)
English 

William Schwenk Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
Princess Ida, or ‘Castle Adamant’

The three-act comic opera Princess Ida appeared, chronologically, between Iolanthe (1882) and The Mikado (1885) and was first performed under the baton of the composer, on 5th January 1884 at the ‘electrically-lighted’ Savoy Theatre. Its initial production ran for 246 performances (with a first American production opening in parallel at New York’s Fifth Avenue Theatre, on 11th February). Billed a ‘respectful Operatic Per-Version of Tennyson’s “Princess” ’, it was a re-working by Gilbert of his own unsuccessful 1870 burlesque The Princess, itself a satire of Tennyson’s narrative poem, but whereas in The Princess: A Medley (1847; augmented in 1853) the Poet Laureate had eagerly anticipated female emancipation, in Princess Ida the conservative Gilbert reaffirmed his own more sceptical view of the feminist movement, a stance which, after the establishment during the 1870s of women’s colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, was already becoming unfashionable.

Peter Dempsey


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