Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri (pron.: //) is a comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It is one of the Savoy operas and is the seventh collaboration of the fourteen between Gilbert and Sullivan.
Iolanthe was first produced in London at the Savoy Theatre, on 25 November 1882, three days after Patience closed, and ran for 398 performances. It was the first of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas to premiere at the Savoy Theatre. The story concerns a band of immortal fairies who find themselves at odds with the House of Peers. The opera satirises many aspects of British government and law.
The opening night of Iolanthe was an occasion for what must have seemed a truly magical event in 1882. The Savoy Theatre was the first theatre in the world to be wired for electricity, and such stunning special effects as sparkling fairy wands were possible.
Gilbert had targeted the aristocracy for satiric treatment before, but in this "fairy opera", the House of Lords is lampooned as a bastion of the ineffective, privileged and dim-witted. The political party system and other institutions also come in for a dose of satire. Among many potshots that Gilbert takes at lawyers in this opera, the Lord Chancellor sings that he will "work on a new and original plan" that the rule (which holds true in other professions, such as the military, the church and even the stage) that diligence, honesty, honour, and merit should lead to promotion "might apply to the bar". Throughout Iolanthe, however, both author and composer managed to couch the criticism among such bouncy, amiable absurdities that it is all received as good humour. In fact, Gilbert later refused to allow quotes from the piece to be used as part of the campaign to diminish the powers of the House of Lords.
Although titled Iolanthe all along in Gilbert's plot book, for a time the piece was advertised as Perola and rehearsed under that name. According to an often-repeated fiction, Gilbert and Sullivan did not change the name to Iolanthe until just before the première. In fact, the title was advertised as Iolanthe as early as 13 November 1882 – eleven days before the opening – so the cast had at least that much time to learn the name. It is also clear that Sullivan's musical setting was written to match the cadence of the word "Iolanthe," and could only accommodate the word "Perola" by preceding it (awkwardly) with "O", "Come" or "Ah".
A glittering crowd attended the first night in London, including Captain (later Captain Sir) Eyre Massey Shaw, head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, whom the Fairy Queen apostrophizes in the second act ("Oh, Captain Shaw/Type of true love kept under/Could thy brigade with cold cascade/Quench my great love, I wonder?"). On the first night, Alice Barnett as the Fairy Queen sang the verses directly to the Captain, to the great delight of the audience.
- The Lord Chancellor (comic baritone)
- George, Earl of Mountararat (baritone)
- Thomas, Earl Tolloller (tenor)
- Private Willis, of the Grenadier Guards (bass)
- Strephon, an Arcadian Shepherd (baritone)
- Queen of the Fairies (contralto)
- Iolanthe, a Fairy, Strephon's mother (mezzo-soprano)
- Celia, a Fairy (soprano)
- Leila, a Fairy (mezzo-soprano)
- Fleta, a Fairy (speaking role/chorus)
- Phyllis, an Arcadian Shepherdess and Ward in Chancery (soprano)
- Chorus of Dukes, Marquises, Earls, Viscounts, Barons and Fairies
Twenty-five years prior to the beginning of the opera, Iolanthe, the mistress of fairy revels, who arranged all the fairy dances and songs, committed the capital crime (under fairy law) of marrying a mortal human. The Queen of the fairies commuted Iolanthe's sentence of death to banishment for life on the condition that Iolanthe left her husband and never communicated with him again. After the passage of 25 years, the fairies, still missing Iolanthe deeply, plead with the Queen to pardon Iolanthe and to restore her place in fairyland.
Summoned by the Fairy Queen, Iolanthe rises from the frog-infested stream that has been her home in exile. The Queen, unable to bear punishing her any longer, pardons Iolanthe, and she is warmly greeted by the other fairies. Iolanthe tells her sisters that she has a son, a half-fairy, half-human named Strephon ("He's a fairy down to the waist, but his legs are mortal"). The fairies laugh that Iolanthe appears too young to have a grown son, as one of the advantages of a fairy's immortality is that they never grow old. Strephon, a handsome Arcadian shepherd, arrives and meets his aunts. He tells Iolanthe joyously of his love for the Lord Chancellor's ward of court, the beautiful Phyllis. Phyllis does not know of Strephon's mixed origin. Strephon is despondent, however, as the Lord Chancellor has forbidden them to marry – partly because he feels that a shepherd is unsuitable for Phyllis, but partly because he wishes to marry Phyllis himself. In fact, so do half the members of the House of Lords. The Fairy Queen promises her assistance. Soon Phyllis arrives, and she and Strephon share a moment of tenderness as they plan their future and possible elopement.
A cadre of the peers of the realm arrive. They are all smitten with Phyllis, and they have appealed to the Lord Chancellor to decide who will have her hand. The Lord Chancellor is hesitant to act upon his own regard for Phyllis due to his position as her guardian. The Lords send for Phyllis to choose one of their number, but she declares that she won't marry any of them, as virtue is found only in a "lowly" cottage. The peers are unhappy at her rejection and beg her not to scorn them simply because their blood is excessively blue. Strephon approaches the Lord Chancellor, pleading that Nature bids him marry Phyllis. But the Lord Chancellor wryly notes that Strephon has not presented sufficient evidence that Nature has interested herself in the matter. He refuses his consent to the marriage between Strephon and Phyllis.
Disappointed, Strephon calls on Iolanthe for help. She appears and promises to support him in every way. Spying on the two, the peers – led by the brainless and stuffy Earls Tolloller and Mountararat – together with Phyllis, see Iolanthe and Strephon in a warm embrace. All three jump to the obvious conclusion, since the centuries-old Iolanthe appears to be a girl of seventeen. The peers scoff at the seemingly absurd claim that Iolanthe is Strephon's mother ("She is, has been, my mother from my birth"). Phyllis angrily rejects Strephon for his supposed infidelity and declares that she will marry either Lord Tolloller or Lord Mountararat ("...and I don't care which!"). Strephon at last calls for help from the fairies. They appear on cue, but are mistaken by the peers for a girls' school on an outing. Offended, the Fairy Queen pronounces a magical "sentence" upon the peers: Strephon shall not only become a Member of Parliament, but will have the power to pass any bill he proposes, including throwing the peerage open to competitive examination. The curtain closes with the fairies threatening the peers.
The fairies have come to Westminster and tease the unhappy peers with the success and pronouncements of MP Strephon. As the Fairy Queen threatened in Act I, Strephon is advancing a bill to open the peerage to competitive examination. The peers ask the fairies to stop Strephon's mischief, stating that the House of Peers is not susceptible of any improvement. Although the fairies say that they cannot stop Strephon, they have become very much attracted to the peers, whom they find handsome and delightful. The fairy Queen is dismayed by this. Pointing to Private Willis of the First Grenadier Guards, who is the sentry on duty, the Queen claims that she is able to subdue her response to the effects of manly beauty.
Phyllis cannot decide which of the two selected peers, Tolloller or Mountararat, she ought to marry, and so she leaves the choice up to them. However, Tolloller tells Mountararat that his family's tradition would require the two Earls to duel to the death if the latter were to claim Phyllis. The two decide that their friendship is more important than love, and renounce their claims to her. Meanwhile, the Lord Chancellor has a nightmare due to his unrequited love for Phyllis. The two peers try to cheer him up. At their urging, the Lord Chancellor determines to make another effort to convince himself to award Phyllis to himself.
Although Strephon now leads both parties in Parliament, he is miserable at losing Phyllis. Seeing Phyllis, he finally explains to her that his mother is a fairy, which accounts for a good many things! Phyllis and Strephon ask Iolanthe to go to the Lord Chancellor and plead for him to allow their marriage, for "none can resist your fairy eloquence." Impossible, she replies, for the Lord Chancellor is her husband. The Lord Chancellor believes Iolanthe to have died childless, and she is bound not to "undeceive" him, under penalty of death. However, to save Strephon from losing his love, Iolanthe decides to present his case to the Lord Chancellor in disguise.
Although the Lord Chancellor is visibly moved by her appeal, which evokes the memory of his lost wife, he declares that he himself will marry Phyllis. Dismayed, Iolanthe desperately unveils, despite the warnings of the unseen Fairies, revealing that she is his long-lost wife, and that Strephon is his son. The Lord Chancellor is amazed to see her alive, but Iolanthe has again broken fairy law, and the Fairy Queen is now left with no choice but to punish Iolanthe with death. As she prepares to execute Iolanthe, the Queen learns that the rest of the fairies have all now chosen husbands from among the peers, thus also incurring death sentences – but the Queen blanches at the prospect of slaughtering the whole company of fairies. The Lord Chancellor suggests a solution: change the law by inserting a single word: every fairy who "don't" marry a mortal shall die. The Fairy Queen cheerfully agrees and, to save her life, the dutiful soldier, Private Willis, agrees to marry her. Likewise, seeing no reason to stay in the mortal realm if peers are to be recruited from persons of intelligence, the peers agree to join the fairy ranks. They all sprout wings, and "away [they] go to fairyland."
Musical numbers 
- 1. "Tripping hither, tripping thither" (Celia, Leila, and Chorus of Fairies)
- 2. "Iolanthe! From thy dark exile thou art summoned" (Queen, Iolanthe, Celia, Leila, and Chorus of Fairies)
- 3. "Good-morrow, good mother" (Strephon and Chorus of Fairies)
- 4. "Fare thee well, attractive stranger" (Queen and Chorus of Fairies)
- 4a. "Good-morrow, good lover" (Phyllis and Strephon)
- 5. "None shall part us from each other" (Phyllis and Strephon)
- 6. "Loudly let the trumpet bray" (Chorus of Peers)
- 7. "The law is the true embodiment" (Lord Chancellor and Chorus of Peers)
- 8. "My well-loved Lord" and Barcarole, "Of all the young ladies I know" (Phyllis, Lord Tolloller, and Lord Mountararat)
- 9. "Nay, tempt me not" (Phyllis)
- 10. "Spurn not the nobly born" (Lord Tolloller and Chorus of Peers)
- 11. "My lords, it may not be" (Phyllis, Lord Tolloller, Lord Mountararat, Strephon, Lord Chancellor, and Chorus of Peers)
- 12. "When I went to the Bar" (Lord Chancellor)
- 13. Finale Act I (Ensemble)
- "When darkly looms the day"
- "The lady of my love has caught me talking to another"
- "Go away, madam"
- "Henceforth Strephon, cast away"
- "With Strephon for your foe, no doubt / Young Strephon is the kind of lout"
- 14. "When all night long a chap remains" (Private Willis)
- 15. "Strephon's a member of Parliament" (Chorus of Fairies and Peers)
- 16. "When Britain really ruled the waves" (Lord Mountararat and Chorus)
- 17. "In vain to us you plead" (Leila, Celia, Chorus of Fairies, Mountararat, Tolloller, and Chorus of Peers)
- 18. "Oh, foolish fay" (Queen with Chorus of Fairies)
- 19. "Though p'r'aps I may incur thy blame" (Phyllis, Lord Mountararat, Lord Tolloller, and Private Willis)
- 20. "Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest" ... "When you're lying awake" (Lord Chancellor)
- 21. "If you go in you're sure to win" (Lord Tolloller, Lord Mountararat, and Lord Chancellor)
- 22. "If we're weak enough to tarry" (Phyllis and Strephon)
- 23. "My lord, a suppliant at your feet" (Iolanthe)
- 24. "It may not be" (Lord Chancellor, Iolanthe, and Chorus of Fairies)
- 25. "Soon as we may, off and away" (Ensemble)
Deleted songs 
- 18a. "De Belville was regarded as the Crichton of his age" (Mountararat) was cut soon after the opening night of Iolanthe. The number appeared soon after Mountararat's Act II entrance, after Phyllis's comment about Strephon going about "with a mother considerably younger than himself". After a short dialogue (which would also be cut) about how people become peers, Mountararat sings a long song about De Belville, a polymath whose talents ranged from painting to literature to inventions. Government was at a loss as to how to reward him – until he inherited millions and obtained a seat in Parliament and "a taste for making inconvenient speeches in the House (of Commons)". He was promptly rewarded by being removed from that House by being given a peerage. According to Reginald Allen's The First Night Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as contemporaneous reviews, it was recited on the first night, rather than sung, and the middle stanza omitted. The music has been lost, except for a leader violin part found in a private collection of band parts in 1999.
- 21a. "Fold your flapping wings" (Strephon) was sung on the first night and cut soon afterwards. The song, preceded by a recitative for Strephon ("My bill has now been read a second time") appeared shortly after #21, following the exit of the two Earls and the Lord Chancellor and the entrance of Strephon. The tone of the song is dark and angry, in marked contrast with the generally genial tone of Iolanthe, and the lyrics make the case that bad behavior by the underclasses is caused by their unfortunate circumstances: "I might be as bad – as unlucky, rather – if I only had Fagin for a father." The music to this song survives, and although most productions continue to omit it, the song has been used in some modern productions and as a separate concert piece.
Musical and textual analysis 
At the time they wrote Iolanthe, both Gilbert and Sullivan were in their peak creative years, and Iolanthe, their seventh work together, drew the best from both composer and author. "[Sullivan] had composed a brilliant new score (his most subtle yet) to a scintillating libretto.... Iolanthe is the work in which Sullivan's operetta style takes a definite step forward, and metamorphosis of musical themes is its characteristic new feature.... By recurrence and metamorphosis of themes Sullivan made the score more fluid...." Much of Sullivan's "fairy" music pays deliberate homage to the incidental music written by Felix Mendelssohn for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Richard Wagner's Ring cycle premiered in London earlier in 1882. The music for the fairies reflects Wagner's style, and the score uses leitmotifs, including a distinctive four-note theme associated with the character of Iolanthe. The Fairy Queen's music parodies that of Wagnerian heroines such as Brünnhilde.
Gilbert, too, was influenced by earlier works, including The Mountain Sylph by John Barnett. Two characters in Iolanthe, Strephon and Phyllis, are described as Arcadian shepherds. Arcadia was a legendary site of rural perfection, first described by the Ancient Greeks, that was a popular setting for writers of the 19th century. Gilbert had written an earlier work called Happy Arcadia. Gilbert had also created several "fairy comedies" at the Haymarket Theatre in the early 1870s. These plays, influenced by the fairy work of James Planché, are founded upon the idea of self-revelation by characters under the influence of some magic or some supernatural interference. Several of Iolanthe's themes are continued from Patience, including the war between the sexes and the satire on legal and political themes. Iolanthe is one of several of Gilbert's works, including The Wicked World, Broken Hearts, Fallen Fairies, and Princess Ida, where the introduction of males into a tranquil world of women brings "mortal love" that wreaks havoc with the status quo.
Iolanthe, the first opera to premiere at the new Savoy Theatre, had a successful initial run in London of 398 performances, spanning the holiday seasons of both 1882 and 1883. In an unprecedented first, the New York premiere was given on the same date – 25 November 1882, with the composer's assistant, Alfred Cellier, conducting. In Australia, it was first seen on 9 May 1885 at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, produced by J. C. Williamson.
In the British provinces, Iolanthe played – either by itself, or in repertory – continuously from February 1882 through 1885, then not again until late 1891. From then on, it was always present in the D'Oyly Carte touring repertory, being included in some part of every season until the company's closure in 1982. After its original production, Iolanthe was not revived in London until 1901, making it the first of the operas to be revived after the composer's death the year before. It was also included in two Savoy repertory seasons, in 1906–07 and 1908–09.
Iolanthe had the distinction of being the first Gilbert and Sullivan opera performed professionally in London by a non-D'Oyly Carte company. It was produced by the Sadler's Wells Opera (now English National Opera) in January 1962, immediately after the Gilbert copyrights expired. It was well received and was successfully revived for many seasons by the company until 1978. Michael Heyland restaged Iolanthe for D'Oyly Carte in 1977.
The following table shows the history of the D'Oyly Carte productions in Gilbert's lifetime:
|Theatre||Opening Date||Closing Date||Perfs.||Details|
|Savoy Theatre||25 November 1882||1 January 1884||398|
New York City
|25 November 1882||24 February 1883||105||Authorised American production|
|Savoy Theatre||7 December 1901||29 March 1902||113||First London revival|
|Savoy Theatre||11 June 1907||23 August 1907||43||First Savoy repertory season; played with three other operas. Closing date shown is of the entire season.|
|Savoy Theatre||19 October 1908||27 March 1909||38||Second Savoy repertory season; played with five other operas. Closing date shown is of the entire season.|
Historical casting 
The following tables show the casts of the principal original productions and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company touring repertory at various times through to the company's 1982 closure:
|Lord Chancellor||George Grossmith||J. H. Ryley||Walter Passmore||Charles H. Workman||Charles H. Workman|
|Mountararat||Rutland Barrington||Arthur Wilkinson||Powis Pinder||Frank Wilson||Rutland Barrington|
|Tolloller||Durward Lely||Llewellyn Cadwaladr||Robert Evett||Harold Wilde||Henry Herbert|
|Private Willis||Charles Manners||Lithgow James||Reginald Crompton||Overton Moyle||Leo Sheffield|
|Strephon||Richard Temple||William T. Carleton||Henry Lytton||Henry Lytton||Henry Lytton|
|Fairy Queen||Alice Barnett||Augusta Roche||Rosina Brandram||Louie René||Louie René|
|Iolanthe||Jessie Bond||Marie Jansen||Louie Pounds||Bessel Adams||Jessie Rose|
|Celia||May Fortescue||Mina Rowley||Agnes Fraser||Violette Londa||Dorothy Court|
|Leila||Julia Gwynne||Kate Forster||Isabel Agnew||Beatrice Meredith||Beatrice Boarer|
|Fleta||Sybil Grey||Billie Barlow||Winifred Hart-Dyke||Ernestine Gauthier||Ethel Lewis|
|Phyllis||Leonora Braham||Sallie Reber||Isabel Jay||Clara Dow||Elsie Spain|
|Lord Chancellor||Henry Lytton||Henry Lytton||Martyn Green||Grahame Clifford||Martyn Green|
|Mountararat||Frederick Hobbs||Darrell Fancourt||Darrell Fancourt||Darrell Fancourt||Eric Thornton|
|Tolloller||Walter Glynne||Sidney Pointer||John Dean||Herbert Garry||Leonard Osborn|
|Private Willis||Leo Sheffield||Leo Sheffield||Sydney Granville||L. Radley Flynn||Richard Watson|
|Strephon||Leicester Tunks||Henry Millidge||Leslie Rands||Leslie Rands||Alan Styler|
|Fairy Queen||Bertha Lewis||Bertha Lewis||Dorothy Gill||Ella Halman||Ella Halman|
|Iolanthe||Nellie Briercliffe||Aileen Davies||Marjorie Eyre||Marjorie Eyre||Joan Gillingham|
|Celia||Ethel Armit||Hilary Davies||Ann Drummond-Grant||Ana Nicholson||Enid Walsh|
|Leila||Betty Grylls||Beatrice Elburn||Elizabeth Nickell-Lean||Doreen Binnion||Joyce Wright|
|Fleta||Kitty Twinn||Dorothy Gates||Kathleen Naylor||Margaret Mitchell||Henrietta Steytler|
|Phyllis||Elsie McDermid||Winifred Lawson||Doreen Denny||Helen Roberts||Margaret Mitchell|
|Lord Chancellor||Peter Pratt||John Reed||John Reed||James Conroy-Ward|
|Mountararat||Donald Adams||Donald Adams||John Ayldon||John Ayldon|
|Tolloller||Leonard Osborn||David Palmer||Meston Reid||Geoffrey Shovelton|
|Private Willis||Fisher Morgan||Kenneth Sandford||Kenneth Sandford||Kenneth Sandford|
|Strephon||Alan Styler||Thomas Lawlor||Michael Rayner||Peter Lyon|
|Fairy Queen||Ann Drummond-Grant||Christene Palmer||Lyndsie Holland||Patricia Leonard|
|Iolanthe||Joyce Wright||Peggy Ann Jones||Judi Merri||Lorraine Daniels|
|Celia||Maureen Melvin||Jennifer Marks||Marjorie Williams||Margaret Lynn-Williams|
|Leila||Beryl Dixon||Pauline Wales||Patricia Leonard||Helene Witcombe|
|Fleta||Margaret Dobson||Elizabeth Mynett||Rosalind Griffiths||Alexandra Hann|
|Phyllis||Cynthia Morey||Valerie Masterson||Pamela Field||Sandra Dugdale|
Selected recordings 
Of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company recordings of this opera, the 1930 and 1960 recordings have been the best received, and the latter includes the dialogue. The revived D'Oyly Carte's 1991 recording contains Strephon's cut number "Fold Your Flapping Wings" as a bonus track.
- 1930 D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: Malcolm Sargent
- 1951 D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: Isidore Godfrey
- 1960 D'Oyly Carte (with dialogue) – New Symphony Orchestra of London, Band of the Grenadier Guards, Conductor: Isidore Godfrey
- 1982 Brent Walker Productions (video) – Ambrosian Opera Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Alexander Faris; Stage Director: David Pountney
- 1991 D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: John Pryce-Jones
Cultural influence 
- Popular perceptions in Britain
Iolanthe offers a satirical portrayal of elements of the British constitution, such as the House of Lords and the position of Lord Chancellor that has influenced modern public debate concerning these institutions. Lord Falconer, who served as Tony Blair's second Lord Chancellor, was reportedly influenced by Iolanthe in his moves to reform or disband the office.
- Impact upon Chief Justice Rehnquist
William H. Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of the United States, was a great Gilbert and Sullivan fan. He was inspired to add four golden stripes to the sleeves of his judicial robes after seeing the costume of the Lord Chancellor in a production of Iolanthe. The next Chief Justice, John G. Roberts Jr., has not continued the practice. Rehnquist, while an Associate Justice, quoted the Lord Chancellor ("The Law is the true embodiment/Of everything that's excellent./It has no kind of fault or flaw/And I, My Lords, embody the Law.") in his dissenting opinion in the 1980 case of Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia. Rehnquist played the silent role of Mr. Bunthorne's Solicitor in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Patience, with the Washington Savoyards in 1986.
The Ratepayers' Iolanthe was a 1984 musical adapted by Ned Sherrin and Alistair Beaton. Sherrin directed and won a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Musical for the musical's "conception".
The science fiction writer Isaac Asimov was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan. His Foundation Trilogy was conceived after his reading Iolanthe started a train of thought about military empires. Also, in "Runaround", a story in Asimov's I, Robot, a robot, while in a state similar to drunkenness, sings snippets of Gilbert and Sullivan songs, including "The Nightmare Song" from Iolanthe.
In Michael Chabon's 2004 novel The Final Solution, Bruno the parrot sings bits from Iolanthe. The eponymous hero of David Nobbs' The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin has "Iolanthe" as a middle name, allegedly due to his being born during a performance of the opera.
See also 
- Mount Ararat, after which one of the characters, Lord Mountararat, is named.
- Tillett et al. 1982, p. 5
- Baily 1952, p. 209
- Tillett, et al. 1982, pp. 6–7
- The Lord Chancellor says that "Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest." A well-known painting exhibited in London, "The Nightmare", had influenced several writers including Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe (see Ward, Maryanne C. (Winter, 2000). "A Painting of the Unspeakable: Henry Fuseli's The Nightmare and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein". The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 33 (1): 20–31) and had been described in a short poem by Erasmus Darwin, "Night-Mare", which included the lines, "The Fiend.../ Seeks some love-wilder'd maid with sleep oppress'd,/ Alights, and grinning sits upon her breast". See Moffitt, John F. "A Pictorial Counterpart to 'Gothick' Literature: Fuseli's The Nightmare", Mosaic, vol. 35, issue 1 (2002), University of Manitoba
- This discovery was presented by Helga J. Perry and Bruce I. Miller in 2000 at the 11th International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK. See 11th Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, outline conference information. It was subsequently published by the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society. See Perry, H. J. and Miller, B. I. The Reward of Merit? An Examination of the Suppressed De Belville Song in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe. Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, 2001
- Includes a brief introduction to "Fold your flapping wings" and a link to the lyrics and a midi file
- Jacobs 1984, pp. 176–79
- Fifield, Christopher. Ibbs and Tillett: The Rise and Fall of a Musical Empire, Chapter 3, pp. 25–26, London: Ashgate Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1-84014-290-1
- Williams, p. 217
- The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). Volume XIII. "The Victorian Age", Part One. VIII. Nineteenth-Century Drama, § 15. W. S. Gilbert.
- Introduction to Broken Hearts, The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, accessed 10 March 2009
- Information about early American productions
- "Gilbert and Sullivan Out of Copyright", The Times, 1 January 1962, p. 14; and "Savoy Opera Prospect in the New Era", The Times, 5 January 1962, p. 4
- "Entertainments", The Times, 9 October 1978, p. 11
- Bradley, p. 40
- Rollins and Witts, p. 8
- Gänzl, p. 211
- Rollins and Witts, p. 19
- Rollins and Witts, p. 21
- Rollins and Witts, p. 22
- Rollins and Witts, p. 132
- Rollins and Witts, p. 148
- Rollins and Witts, p. 160
- Rollins and Witts, p. 170
- Rollins and Witts, p. 176
- Rollins and Witts, p. 180
- Rollins and Witts, 1st Supplement, p. 7
- Rollins and Witts, 3rd Supplement, p. 28
- Rollins and Witts, 4th Supplement, p. 42
- Morey is President of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in London. See also Ffrench, Andrew. "Retired opera singer Cynthia Morey lands 'yum' film role in Quartet", Oxford Mail, 2 February 2013
- List and assessments of recordings of Iolanthe
- Reviews of the Brent Walker video recording
- "Professional Shows from the Festival", Musical Collectibles catalogue website, accessed 15 October 2012
- Review of 1920 recording
- Review of 1951 recording
- Review of 1960 recording
- Review of 1982 video
- Review of 1991 recording
- Green, Edward. "Ballads, songs, and speeches". BBC, 20 September 2004. Retrieved on 2008-11-16.
- Barrett, John Q."A Rehnquist Ode on the Vinson Court", The Green Bag, vol. 11, no. 3, Spring 2008
- Richmond Newspapers cast at Findlaw.com
- Garcia, Guy D. (1986-06-02). "People". Time. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Olivier Award winners for 1984
- White, Michael. Foundation, Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction, p. 83, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005 ISBN 0-7867-1518-9. Quote: "Asimov was travelling on the subway reading ... Iolanthe. The illustrations and their military theme started him thinking in terms of armies, wars, and empires. Before he had arrived at [his publisher's] office he had the idea of writing about a galactic empire, based on the historical structure, rise, and fall of the Roman Empire."
- Asimov, Isaac (1982). "The Story Behind the Foundation". Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- Ainger, Michael (2002). Gilbert and Sullivan – A Dual Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514769-3.
- Baily, Leslie (1952). The Gilbert & Sullivan Book. London: Cassell & Company Ltd.
- Bradley, Ian, ed. (1996). The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816503-X.
- Gänzl, Kurt (1986). The British Musical Theatre – Volume I, 1865 – 1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hughes, Gervase (1959). The Music of Sir Arthur Sullivan. London: Macmillan & Co Ltd.
- Jacobs, Arthur (1984). Arthur Sullivan – A Victorian Musician. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Rollins, Cyril; R. John Witts (1962). The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas: A Record of Productions, 1875–1961. London: Michael Joseph. Also, five supplements, privately printed.
- Stedman, Jane W. (1996). W. S. Gilbert, A Classic Victorian & His Theatre. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816174-3.
- Tillett, Selwyn; Stephen Turnbull & Michael Walters (1982). Iolanthe – A commemorative booklet for the centenary of the first production at the Savoy Theatre, Saturday 25 November 1882. Saffron Walden, Essex, UK: Sir Arthur Sullivan Society.
- Williams, Carolyn (2010). Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-14804-6.
- Iolanthe at The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive
- Iolanthe at The Gilbert & Sullivan Discography
- Online copy of the libretto
- Transcription of a review of Iolanthe by Clement Scott
- Biographies of the people listed in the historical casting chart
- Bab illustrations of lyrics from Iolanthe
- Gilbert & Sullivan song parodies, including some from Iolanthe
- Photos from D'Oyly Carte productions of Iolanthe, 1882 to 1980