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A festival celebrating the founding fathers of British comedy opera, Gilbert & Sullivan, has been announced for Adelaide in May 2023.

Presented by State Opera South Australia, The G&S Fest will bring together some of the best bits of very British humour and song in an action-packed program over two weekends in May.

Gilbert & Sullivan or “G&S” as they are universally known created British comedy-opera in the 19th century.

The pair gave rise to a great tradition of political satire, and their work shaped the development of musical theatre, political discourse, literature, film and advertising.

They are embedded in the English language like no other songwriters. Lines like “let the punishment fit the crime”, “What never? Well, hardly ever” and “short sharp shock” all hail from their work.

The G&S catalogue contains some 14 operas, including Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado (seen here in 2019 as part of State Opera’s season), and H.M.S Pinafore.

Once a mainstay of high school theatres and mega-hit vehicles for stars like Anthony Warlow, David Campbell, Marina Prior and the late Jon English, the G&S repertoire has launched some famous careers world over and it is time for a revival – and who else to lead it, but the man considered to be the country’s foremost interpreter of the works, Stuart Maunder AM.

“I’m thrilled to be able to introduce the works of Gilbert & Sullivan to a whole new generation in May 2023.

“Not only is their work some of the finest music and lyrics ever put to paper, but they shape everything that comes after them. We have no modern musical theatre, no Monty Python, and no filmmakers like Mike Leigh and Aaron Sorkin without the game-changing style of G&S,” said State Opera’s Artistic Director Stuart Maunder.

The G&S Fest will be the only festival of its kind outside the UK and aims to deliver a memorable entertainment experience for aficionados and first timers alike.

“Festival goers can expect more than just the operas on stage – there will be many opportunities to share conversation and laughs, and for those coming in from interstate and overseas, each weekend of the festival is intended as a complete experience,” Maunder said.

Tickets go on sale when the program is released in September 2022, but lovers of G&S are encouraged to register their interest today on a dedicated website – so they are the first to receive straight-to-your-inbox news, program information and early access on ticket sales.

“Satire and silliness are two of mankind’s greatest pleasures, and the music of Sullivan – that unquenchable melody – is a thing of its own. Try it – I dare you not to love it.”

The G&S Fest is exclusive to Adelaide, Australia in May 2023.

Event Archive

G & S Fest has now concluded and we thank you for attending and supporting the event.

Presented by State Opera in May 2023 the event was a celebration of the founding fathers of British comedy opera, Gilbert & Sullivan.

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