The best of British musical comes to Adelaide

G&S Fest – a celebration of the founding fathers of British comic opera, Gilbert & Sullivan, has announced the program for its first edition over two action-packed weekends in May 2023.

Presented by the State Opera South Australia, G&S Fest is the only event of its kind in the southern hemisphere and brings together some of the best bits of very British humor and song.

Gilbert & Sullivan or “G&S” as they are universally known created British comedy-opera in the 19th century. The couple spawned a great tradition of political satire and their work shaped the development of musical theatre, political discourse, literature, film and advertising.

State Opera Artistic Director and one of the world’s foremost Gilbert & Sullivan interpreters, Stuart Maunder AM, said: “I am thrilled to be able to introduce the works of Gilbert & Sullivan to a whole new generation in May 2023” , did he declare.

“Not only is their work some of the best music and lyrics ever written, they shape everything that comes after them. We don’t have modern musical theatre, no Monty Python and no filmmakers like Mike Leigh and Aaron Sorkin without the groundbreaking style of G&S,” Maunder said.

Based around Adelaide’s CBD, G&S Fest aims to provide a memorable entertainment experience for aficionados and first-timers alike.

Main festival highlights include crowd favorites Pirates of Penzance and HMS apron at Her Majesty’s Theatre, an offbeat immersive presentation of opera in aperitif format (45 min) Trial by jury to the Supreme Court, and a “Big Sing” community version of The Sorcerer – which will bring together hundreds of G&S and choir enthusiasts for a massive performance.

A well-balanced program of family opera works, sacred music and occasional events includes special raffle cards for hardcore fans, such as a Mother’s Day snack with Stuart Maunder himself on stage, exclusive film screenings, a quiz night and a Long lunch between boys and girls – where some of Australia’s most beloved G&S stars of all time will share stories, anecdotes and a delicious behind-the-scenes meal.

“Festival-goers can expect more than the operas on stage – there will be plenty of opportunities to share conversations and laughs, and for those traveling from the motorway and overseas, each festival weekend is designed as a complete experience,” Maunder said.

Bringing these gems to life G&S is a cast of some of Australia’s finest voice and character performers, including Ben Mingay, Antoinette Halloran, Jeremy Kleeman, Nicholas Jones, John Longmuir, Desiree Frahn, Nicholas Cannon, Douglas McNicol and Jessica Dean, who will assume several roles in the main productions.

“Satire and silliness are two of mankind’s greatest pleasures, and Sullivan’s music – that inextinguishable melody – is a thing in itself. Try it – I dare you not to like it,” Maunder said.


Exclusive to Adelaide, the G&S Fest runs from May 11-21, 2023. Tickets are on sale now. For more information and the full program visit: www.gandsfest.com for details.

Image: G&S party – courtesy of State Opera South Australia