Left over from last #FEMbruary, which was a month of beleivable female miniature painting posts, are these female soldiers in Gilbert and Sullivan’s light comic operetta Princess Ida.
“Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant” opened on 5 January 1884 at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 246 performances. It is the only three act Gilbert and Sullivan Opera and the only one with dialogue in blank verse. This is because Gilbert based his libretto on his earlier play The Princess which, in turn, he described as “a perversion” of Tennyson’s poem of the same name.
It was produced between Iolanthe and The Mikado when its creators were at the height of their powers. The score is Sullivan at his best, and some people consider that Gilbert’s libretto contains some of his fun
Prince Hilarion had been married in babyhood to Princess Ida, daughter of King Gama. The Princess, however, has set up a college for women from which all men are barred. Hilarion and his friends infiltrate the castle and ultimately the men, led by Hilarion’s father, King Hildebrand, stage a full-scale invasion. Ida is abandoned by her women and finally surrenders to Hilarion. (GS Archive web source)
2018 is the hundredth anniversary of the first women gaining the vote in Britain and 2018 is also the year that the military in Britain opened to women the last few gender restricted jobs on frontline duties including special forces roles.
The original stage costumes from 1926 below, looked at close up, are quite gloriously Flash Gordon.
What a joke in 1884 to some Victorian men, that women would ever attend university, get a degree or serve in the military, all on equal grounds.
There are plenty of modern versions on YouTube to track down and enjoy of this stirring song, popular for obvious reasons with female university students!
Manchester University G&S Society MUGS
A wide range of female soldier stage costumes are improvised at low cost for this number in different YouTube videos. Some Imagi-Nations and uniforms ideas there then.
Southampton University version 2003
Blog Post Script B.P.S.
Following up Ross MacFarlane’s Battle Game of The Month reprint of an article about French Wargames during WW2, in the same series is an interesting article by Jon Peterson about the First Female Gamers (who weren’t called Bronte) https://medium.com/@increment/the-first-female-gamers-c784fbe3ff37
Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN as Advent Calendar Day 16, 16th December 2018