Join us for the glorious English National Opera production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera Iolanthe, preceded by a delicious Three-Course Champagne Dinner at The Savoy Hotel: event fully booked and successfully concluded

Join us for an evening of magical comic opera, political satire, and a visual tour de force—Cal McCrystal’s production for the English National Opera of Gilbert & Sullivan’s fantasy opera crammed with fine music and visual comedy—grand opera meets music hall—a joyful evening of sheer pleasure.

The music of Iolanthe is sensational: just listen to it! Sullivan’s score gleefully assimilates Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Wagner, with a sense of fun as well as melodic grace. Gilbert, writing 150 years ago, offers a masterclass in satirical digs at parliamentary politics, still startlingly acute. ‘Welcome to our hearts again, Iolanthe!’ sings the fairy chorus: to which we add, ‘Hear, hear!’

We are delighted to have secured excellent seats in the Orchestra Stalls at the London Coliseum on Tuesday, October 10, to make sure our Members do not miss this happy event. And to open the evening in style we shall first enjoy a delicious Champagne Three-Course Dinner at the glittering Savoy Hotel, chosen not only because it is minutes from the opera house, the ambience is wonderful, the food delicious and the service superb, but because the Savoy is also Iolanthe’s natural home.

Iolanthe premiered in 1882 at the Savoy Theatre to huge public acclaim, adding its share to the funds on which impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte relied to build the Savoy Hotel, which opened seven years later. The rest, as they say, is history, and it will be a fitting opening to be there at The Savoy to celebrate the vivacious Gilbert & Sullivan performance which lies ahead.

As to the current ENO production, it is already acclaimed by the critics. It won rave reviews in 2018, when the Spectator wrote, ‘McCrystal set out to make a genuinely funny and joyful show, augmented by a mischievous and daring production . . . I’ve already bought tickets to see it again.’

Other leading critics agree: ‘If you’re not crying with laughter midway through the second act, visit your GP’ (The Arts Desk); ‘an all-round, knockout success’ (Financial Times); ‘Unending hilarity’ (Daily Mail); ‘. . . a glorious night of mayhem, madness and misunderstandings’ (What’s on Stage); ‘Iolanthe for the 21st century. I loved it.’ (Daily Express).

This production does indeed make everybody laugh, even before the curtain rises on a stage filled with colossal multi-coloured flowers. The designer, the late Paul Brown, took his cue not only from G&S’s own creative lineage but from the score. Strephon (Marcus Farnsworth) and Phyllis (Ellie Laugharne) are brilliantly portrayed like porcelain figures in a Gainsborough Arcadia.

Brown’s sets and costumes are beautiful, a riot of colour and fun, and apparent difficulties such as how to turn a bunch of not exactly young and sylph-like chorus members into ‘sweetly tripping fairies’ are handled with delightful panache. Notes Bachtrack, ‘Stagecraft is nothing short of superb: the sheer amount of movement from the chorus is jaw-dropping.’

As to the satire, W S Gilbert is an all-time master of the art—and the barbs in Iolanthe are razor-sharp relevant to this day. Witness one Guardsman: ‘When in that House MPs divide / If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too / They’ve got to leave that brain outside / And vote just as their leaders tell ’em to.’ And Lord Mountararat’s song celebrating Britain’s military glory: ‘When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte / As every child can tell / The House of Peers throughout the war / Did nothing in particular / And did it very well.’

Iolanthe is filled with visual comedy too. The Chorus of Peers performs a beer-bottle juggling act, a puppet horse delivers excitement on-stage, and an officious fireman (an invention of McCrystal’s) peremptorily extinguishes the Fairy Queen’s thunderbolts. Cast members are likely to soar aloft at any moment, and frequently do. They recreate Gilbert & Sullivan with aplomb.

‘Samantha Price sings the title role beautifully …’ writes the Guardian critic; WhatsOnStage note that ‘her elegant Iolanthe is sprinkled with fairy dust … ‘ Catherine Wyn-Rogers, a regular at the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan in New York, Milan and more, is a hugely anticipated Fairy Queen. Marcus Farnsworth’s energetic and focused Strephon and Ellie Laugharne’s feisty Phyllis are already highly regarded in their roles. Ben McAteer perfectly reflects the gormless dignity of Lord Mountararat, and swaggers sonorously through ‘When Britain Really Ruled the Waves’. Actor Clive Mantle puts in another splendid appearance as Captain Shaw, the larger-than-life head of the fire brigade. Chris Hopkins, a renowned Sullivan specialist, conducts the superb, multi-award winning English National Opera Orchestra.

It all adds up to a vivacious tour de force of an evening, a delight on many levels, which we much hope you will enjoy. To book now, please read on!


This entertaining evening will be made even more memorable by a Three-Course Champagne Pre-Theatre Dinner in the famously stylish and historic River Restaurant at the Savoy Hotel. With its views across the River Thames, the River Restaurant blends The Savoy’s glorious architecture with a polished interior by world renowned designer Russell Sage. The restaurant is now within the domain of the Michelin Star Chef Gordon Ramsay, serving classic dishes with an emphasis on seafood to add to delicious meat and poultry dishes and the latest vegetarian and vegan menus. Our menu for the evening will be a delicious pre-theatre three-course set menu with a choice of three seasonal dishes per course (more details available nearer the time).

The date is Tuesday, October 10, 2023. The performance starts at 7pm and our tables are booked at the River Restaurant from 5pm. After dinner, your taxi will whisk you from the Savoy to the Coliseum for the performance. The opera running time is 2 hours 50 minutes and includes one interval.

Tickets for the full evening, including Orchestra Stalls ticket for the Opera, welcome glass of Champagne, Three-Course set menu dinner at The Savoy, VAT and service charge, cost only £147 for CountryClubuk Members, instead of the full value of £200pp.

We have only a limited number of tickets and this spectacular operatic event will make an enchanting evening which will be popular with our Members, so please don’t delay!

Please click here now to book your places for this event.

Or call Member Services on 020 7399 2960. (Tickets will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, whether you book online or by phone.)


Extend the pleasure of the evening with a stay at The Savoy, or another of our specially selected hotels and clubs at exclusive Club rates. We offer the best rates available anywhere for handpicked London hotels. Please call us on 020 7399 2960, or click here to send instant requests for hotel availability and options.