The best of British Musical Comedy comes to Adelaide

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

Presented by 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 humour and song.

Gilbert & Sullivan or “G&S” as they are universally known created British comedy-opera in the 19th century. The pair gave rise to 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 interpreters of Gilbert & Sullivan, Stuart Maunder AM said, “I’m thrilled to be able to introduce the works of Gilbert & Sullivan to a whole new generation in May 2023,” he said.

“Not only is their work some of the finest music and lyrics ever put to paper, but they shape everything that comes after them. We have no modern musical theatre, no Monty Python, and no filmmakers like Mike Leigh and Aaron Sorkin without the game-changing style of G&S,” said Maunder.

Based around the Adelaide CBD, G&S Fest aims to deliver a memorable entertainment experience for aficionados and first timers alike.

Major highlights of the festival include crowd favourites Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore at Her Majesty’s Theatre, a quirky immersive presentation of aperitif-sized opera (45 mins) Trial By Jury at the Supreme Court, and a ‘Big Sing’ community version of The Sorcerer – which will bring together hundreds of G&S and choral enthusiasts for one massive performance.

A well-rounded program of family-friendly operatic works, sacred music, and one-off-events includes some special draw cards for die-hard fans, such as a Mother’s Day High Tea with Stuart Maunder himself taking the stage, exclusive movie screenings, a quiz night and a Lads & Lasses Long Lunch – where some of Australia’s most beloved G&S stars of all time will be sharing behind the scenes stories, anecdotes and a delightful meal.

“Festival goers can expect more than just the operas on stage – there will be many opportunities to share conversation and laughs, and for those coming in from interstate and overseas, each weekend of the festival is intended as a complete experience,” Maunder said.

Bringing these G&S gems to life is a group of some of Australia’s finest voices 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 take on multiple roles across the major productions.

“Satire and silliness are two of mankind’s greatest pleasures, and the music of Sullivan – that unquenchable melody – is a thing of its own. Try it – I dare you not to love it,” said Maunder.

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

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