Gilbert and Sullivan Festival confirms 2021 performances at Harrogate Royal Hall

The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company in the dress rehearsal for The Pirates Of Penzance in July 2018. Picture: Jane Stokes

THIS summer’s 27th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate has been scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the festival organisers have put next summer’s festival line-up in place already.

As is custom, the 2021 festival will run at two locations, the original home of Buxton Opera House from July 31 to August 7 and Harrogate Royal Hall from August 8 to 22.

Taking part will be three professional companies, the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, Charles Court Opera and Forbear! Theatre, and amateur performers from Abbots Langley G&S Society, Brussels Light Opera, Bus Pass Opera, Peak Opera, Ploverleigh Savoy Players, SavoyNet Performing Group and Trent Opera.    

Harrogate dates for the 2021 diary are:

August 8, The Mikado, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; H.M.S. Pinafore, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

August 9, Iolanthe, Peak Opera, 7.30pm.

August 10, The Gondoliers, Trent Opera, 7.30pm.

August 11, Iolanthe, Charles Court Opera, 2.30pm; Ruddigore, Charles Court Opera, 7.30pm.

August 12, The Pirates Of Penzance, Brussels Light Opera, 7.30pm.

August 13, The Yeomen Of The Guard,  Forbear! Theatre, 7.30pm.

August 14, Patience, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; The Mikado, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

August 15, The Pirates Of Penzance, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; H.M.S. Pinafore, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

August 16, Ruddigore, Abbots Langley G&S Society, 7.30pm.

August 17, The Mikado, Ploverleigh Savoy Players, 7.30pm.

August 18, Patience, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; The Pirates Of Penzance, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

August 19, The Grand Duke, SavoyNet Performing Group, 7.30pm.

August 20, Princess Ida, Bus Pass Opera, 7.30pm.

August 21, H.M.S. Pinafore, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; Patience, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

August 22, The Mikado, National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 2.30pm; The Pirates Of Penzance,  National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, 7.30pm.

A night at the light opera: The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at the Royal Hall, Harrogate, in a past year

This summer’s festival run in Harrogate from August 9 to 23 would have featured five new National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company productions: The Pirates Of Penzance and The Sorcerer, directed by Richard Gauntlett; rising star Rachel Middle’s HMS Pinafore; Simon Butteriss’s Patience and Alan Borthwick’s The Emerald Isle (or The Caves Of Carrig-Cleena), a work staged only rarely.

Further highlights were to have been Charles Court Opera’s smart, stylish new take on The Mikado, directed by John Savournin, and their new production of Iolanthe, plus Rachel Middle’s production of The Yeomen Of The Guard for Forbear! Theatre.

After the cancellation of the 2020 festival, the organisers have launched a streaming service at gsopera.tv to show “the very best of the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company and festival productions at home and abroad since 1994, plus many other G&S classics”.

“There’s something for everyone and our content will be constantly updated with new, exciting films for you to enjoy from the best seat in your house,” says festival trustee Bernard Lockett. “There’s free content to watch there too.

“You can watch gsopera.tv on your tablet, laptop, smart TV, smartphone or PC: anywhere with the internet. It’s easy to use and your purchases can be accessed on all your internet devices forever.

“Keep an eye out for our new weekly podcasts and webinars starring your festival favourites and Gilbert and Sullivan experts. They are coming soon and we can’t wait to share them with you. We are also selecting some outstanding films for an eagerly awaited virtual festival in August, so this year you can simply stay safely at home and enjoy being entertained.

“Gsopera.tv lets you re-live treasured memories and enjoy those magical performances that have made the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival such an amazing and unique event.”

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