The finished art, painted in acrylic paints on illustration board, for Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan’s June production of ‘Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant’. The show runs Friday June 13 and Saturday June 14 and all the details can be viewed at the Bucks G&S website.
If you don’t know the story of Princess Ida, it’s a funny one about the battle of the sexes. And it has an actual Battle of the Sexes, in Act III. .
It begins with King Hildebrand and his loyal subjects awaiting the arrival of rival King Gama and his daughter, Princess Ida, to marry Hildebrand’s son, the Prince Hilarion. Gama, however, arrives not with his daughter but with his three dull sons, and explains in his cantankerous way that Ida will not marry Hilarion. She has instead devoted herself to ruling a woman’s university, where she instructs her pupils on the inferiority of man, among other subjects. Hildebrand sputters that Gama and his sons will be held captive until Ida appears and consents to marry Hilarion.
The story moves to Castle Adamant where Princess Ida and her learned ladies teach their students about the evils of man. Prince Hilarion and his friends Florian and Cyril sneak into the Woman’s University disguised as women (I think you need that bit at least once in every G&S show). Their ruse is uncovered when it’s shockingly observed that two of them are tenors and one a baritone. Ida promptly has the three men arrested, then King Hildebrand shows up to give Ida 24 hours before he demolishes Castle Adamant, if she does not marry Hilarion.
The women bring out the battle-axes to defend the castle but Hilarion and his friends easily win; Princess Ida yields to her prince, and with joy abiding, the opera concludes.