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Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida

  • University of Chicago, Mandel Hall 1131 West 57th Street Chicago, IL, 60621 United States (map)

The first collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan following Sullivan's knighthood, Princess Ida holds a unique place in the Savoy canon, as the only Gilbert and Sullivan work written in blank verse - and in three Acts.

A topsy-turvy twist on a traditional medieval fairy tale, and adapted from Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic poem The Princess, Princess Ida tells the tale of the eponymous Princess, who eschews her marriage obligations to the Prince of a neighboring kingdom (made when they both were infants, of course) to run a women's university. To prevent war between the kingdoms, the well-meaning Prince Hilarion, along with his faithful (if a bit loutish) companions Cyril and Florian, endeavor to woo the Princess by infiltrating her University - disguised as women. Despite their best efforts, however, the men are discovered, and their subsequent capture by Ida and her students lead to a climactic final showdown - a literal battle of the sexes!

Featuring Sullivan at his finest (the series of trios, quartets, and quintets in Act II, known colloquially as the "string of pearls," is thought of as the very best series of musical numbers in the canon), this production of Princess Ida has been fully updated for 2016 audiences, with an ending that has been revised to reflect our modern understanding of gender roles - in other words, you won't hear Ida admit defeat in this production!