Spotlight on the Iolanthe Orchestra

The making of the Savoy Society’s Iolanthe orchestra

Savoy Society’s Iolanthe features a 14-piece+  orchestra that even Sir Arthur Sullivan would have been proud of, directed by Gloria Jean Nagy. Without the Savoy operas we would never had had Fiddler on the Roof, Cats or the Lion King. Classical music writer, Lawrence Johnson, reflected that  “Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas are musical titaniums”.

2016_Iolanthe_Orchestra and background

Dave Woycheshin, playing the role of Lord Mountararat, is an active community musician in Ottawa and was instrumental (yes, a play on words moment) in recruiting this orchestra. He used all of his connections. The first person that he persuaded was his wife, Maureen, on oboe, followed by his good friend, Larry, on clarinet. He asked the Ottawa Chamber Orchestra (where he plays tuba) and got the violin, cellos and flute. He asked the Divertimento Orchestra and got the trumpet, a second violin, and horn (who is also the principal horn with the Kanata Symphony Orchestra). The viola joined as a result of persuasion from the other strings. He leaned on his Maple Leaf Brass Band connections for the trombone and percussionist, and searched the Ottawa bassoon community (oh yes, there is one!) for our bassoonist. The end result is a very fine pit orchestra. The Savoy Society sincerely thanks them for their wonderful contribution to the show.

The show will be held at Cedarview Alliance Church –  May 27, May 28 and May 29.  Larger than life fairies, who can be like naughty children at times, are pitted against the male Peers which is the British name for the Senators (not the hockey team). In G&S musicals, like Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, there is always a young couple who are not allowed to marry until the end of the show because of some misunderstanding. For musical aficionados, G&S always includes a patter song (a word challenge for the singer) and  a capella quartet/quintet.

Savoy is pleased to have legendary performer, Sneezy Waters, in a cameo role woven into the G&S story.


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