“Mighty maiden with a mission,
paragon of common sense;
running fount of erudition,
miracle of eloquence!”

—The Women’s Chorus
Princess Ida
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s Production of

Princess Ida or Castle Adamant

March 2nd to 24th, 2018

Photo Gallery


Princess Ida Program

Princess Ida Cast


Stage Director: Joe Andrews
Music Director: Dr. Randal A. Buikema

Director’s Notes

Could Gilbert or Sullivan ever have imagined that their works would be alive and well some 130 years later and providing so much joy to us all in Minnesota in the dead of winter?

Princess Ida; or, Castle Adamant opened on January 5, 1884 and was the eighth operatic collaboration for Gilbert and Sullivan.  It nestled between Iolanthe and The Mikado – two of their biggest successes.  By comparison, Princess Ida was not an enormous hit.  But its longevity is a testament to its many charms.  In 1985, I played my first lead in a G&S show – Hilarion in Carleton College’s production.  About eight years later, I sang the role again with this very company in the 1993 production.  So, this show holds a special place in my heart.  Its enduring power might seem odd given that it deals with difficult topics: the satirization of Victorian feminism, college education for women (a novelty at the time), and Darwin’s theory of evolution (only a few decades old when the show opened).  Any one of these topics could pose challenges for a modern audience.  Thankfully, Gilbert treated the topics with a light touch; in fact, the show pokes more fun at male foolishness and chauvinism than anything else.

Princess Ida is based on a narrative poem by Tennyson called The Princess (1847).  Gilbert had written a farcical musical play, based on the poem, in 1870 and lifted much of the dialogue from it for his operetta.  It is the only Gilbert and Sullivan opera in three acts and the only one with dialogue in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter).  It has been noted – and I agree – that the dialogue sometimes fails to sparkle in the usual Gilbertian way as a result of the forced meter.  Happily, the score and lyrics more than make up for any shortcomings in the somewhat stilted dialogue.

It should be noted that we have adapted the play very slightly to address a notable challenge in the original: the play’s conclusion includes a significant reversal.  The ending is forced and somewhat jarring – especially to the modern ear.  We’ve added just a few lines in Act 2 and 3 to help Ida’s change of heart seem more plausible.  Many of these new lines are actually from the original Tennyson poem which handles the conclusion in a far less perfunctory way.

I hope you enjoy this production even half as much as we have enjoyed putting it together for you.  I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to work with such a profoundly talented, collaborative, dedicated and buoyant cast, crew, orchestra, music director and board.

I hope you’ll agree that it’s especially important right now, right here, to support art that brings beauty and joy – the wellsprings of hope – into the world.  If you agree, perhaps you’ll consider a contribution to this unique Twin Cities company that dedicates itself solely to this special brand of operetta that we all hold so dear.

Joe Andrews

Sarah Wind Richens as Princess Ida, withAnna Maher, Kaitlin Klemencic, Sarah Mehle,Taylor Ann Grand.and Cassandra Utt

Sarah Wind Richens as Princess Ida, with
Anna Maher, Kaitlin Klemencic, Sarah Mehle,
Taylor Ann Grand.and Cassandra Utt

Joe Allen as Guron,Doug Freeman as Arac andAlessio Tranchell Scynthius

Joe Allen as Guron,
Doug Freeman as Arac and
Alessio Tranchell Scynthius

Princess Ida Reviews

         Compendium, by Becki Iverson

         PhenoMNal Twin Cities, by Stephanie Kwong

         Play Off the Page, by Mary Aalgaard

         Say Entirely, by Tierney Chlan

         Lavender Magazine, by John Townsend

         Cherry and Spoon, by Jill Schafer

         Twin Cities Arts Reader, by Basil Considine

An excellent internet resource for information about steampunk, the concept that inspired this production of Princess Ida

Wikipedia – Steampunk

Two excellent internet resources for information about Princess Ida:

Wikipedia – Princess Ida

The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive – Princess Ida

Princess Ida 2018 Show Poster

Show Poster

Poster design by Tom McGregor and Mary Olson

Princess Ida 2018 Company Photo

Company Photo

Photography by Bethany Jackson, Twin Cities Headshots

“With joy abiding, together gliding,
through life’s variety, in sweet society,
and thus enthroning the love I’m owning,
on this atoning, I will rely!”

—Princess Ida
Princess Ida