Gilbert & Sullivan


In the corridors of power, everyone’s away with the fairies.

Iolanthe is a brilliantly funny fantasy.

It’s a topsy-turvy worldview, typical of Gilbert & Sullivan, in which life in the fairy world and Parliament is reversed.

Phyllis and Strephon (half man, half-fairy) wish to marry, but as Phyllis is a ward of court, she requires the Lord Chancellor’s permission. The Lord Chancellor, however, wants her for himself.

Sullivan’s ever-melodious musical score matches Gilbert’s libretto in satirising the vanities and egos of the peers of the realm. And, just for good measure, Iolanthe targets the celebrity culture of the day. There are thinly disguised portraits of the good and the great of late Victorian society. There are side swipes at Queen Victoria, John Brown (her personal servant and ‘close companion’), Lord Randolph Churchill (reformist Tory) and William Gladstone (the serving Liberal PM).

Cal McCrystal returns to direct this successful operetta, bringing his characteristic and joyfully chaotic physical comedy, irreverence and brilliant wordplay. Outstanding former ENO Harewood Artist, Samantha Price, leads a cast of ENO favourites – including baritone Marcus Farnsworth as Strephon.

Book your opera tickets for ‘a glorious night of mayhem, madness and misunderstandings’ (What’s on Stage) with the ENO production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe at the London Coliseum.

The role of Queen of the Fairies is supported by Kathryn Uhde, the role of Lord Chancellor is supported by Graham Chong-Brookman, and the Revival Lighting Designer is supported by Michael J Dyer JP.

View Iolanthe cast sheet

‘This is truly a bring-the-whole-family Iolanthe for the 21st century. I loved it.

Daily Express

‘If you're not crying with laughter midway through the second act, visit your GP’

The Arts Desk

‘an all-round, knockout success’

The Financial Times

‘An evening of unending hilarity’

Daily Mail

Running Time
2hrs 50mins

There is one interval.


We have an Access Scheme for our audiences with a disability, a health condition, or different access needs to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Tickets start at just £10 plus £3.75 booking fee and £1.50 building levy per ticket. A maximum of £10.50 per transaction is charged.
Sung in English with the words displayed above the stage (Surtitles)

Age guidance: 5+

For more information, please contact our box office on 020 7845 9300 or [email protected]

Discover Iolanthe

Iolanthe Creative Team 2023

Iolanthe Cast 2023

Iolanthe FAQs

An ENO performance of Iolanthe at the London Coliseum is roughly 2hrs 45 mins with a 20-minute interval. To experience this satirical operetta, book your tickets to see Iolanthe in 2023.

Iolanthe is a comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan about a fairy who marries a mortal, causing a conflict between the fairy world and the House of Lords. With witty dialogue and catchy music, it pokes fun at British politics and the aristocracy, making it well worth a watch!

To watch an ENO performance of Iolanthe at the London Coliseum, tickets range between £10 and £160 depending on where you’d like to sit. Don’t forget to make the most of our brilliant ways to save offers, including free tickets for under 21s and discounts for under 35s. £3.75 booking fee and £1.50 building levy applies per ticket.