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Milwaukee Opera Theatre's 'Iolanthe' Trades Pomp for Circumstance

May. 23, 2012
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Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) completes its season with an exciting new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's 1882 comic operetta Iolanthe. Presented in partnership with Carroll University, Iolanthe marks MOT's first foray into the world of Gilbert and Sullivan. The famous duo's operettas are often associated with overdone sets, costumes and performances, but director James Zager will trade the “pomp for the circumstance” in his original approach to Iolanthe.

Music director David Bonofiglio leads a cast of more than 15 performers, including Nathan Krueger (The Lord Chancellor), Sarah Richardson (Phyllis), Doug Clemons (Strephon), Jill Anna Ponasik (Iolanthe), Jillian Bruss (Queen of the Fairies), Jason Powell (Lord Tolloller) and Doug Jarecki (Lord Mountararat), among others.

Zager's production will retain all of the music and dialogue, but incorporate newer elements, including projection screens, into the Arcadian Landscape and Westminster Palace Yard sets. The operetta was originally set between 1700 and 1882, but MOT's Iolanthe will be timeless, allowing the Fairies and Peers to engage today's audience in a fresh new way.

Ponasik, MOT's artistic director, calls Iolanthe “the connoisseurs' Gilbert and Sullivan.”

“Chock-full of the merriment and silliness that we expect if we know the big three (Pirates, Mikado, Pinafore), Iolanthe features the most ravishing, highly operatic music of the lot,” Ponasik says.

Performances take place at Carroll University's Otteson Theatre (238 N. East Ave., Waukesha) 7:30 p.m. May 31-June 1 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. June 2.

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