The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company takes on the most dramatic and complex work of the Gilbert and Sullivan canon

Topsy-turvy plot twists, a trio of reluctant marriages, and a haunting score regarded by many as Sullivan’s finest work.

CHICAGO, Hyde Park – The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company will perform The Yeomen of the Guard, or, The Merryman and his Maid at the University of Chicago’s Mandel Hall on March 13—15.

Set in the Tower of London during the reign of King Henry VIII, The Yeomen of the Guard tells the story of the war hero Colonel Fairfax, unjustly imprisoned and condemned to death for sorcery, and the plot hatched by his old friend Sergeant Meryll and his daughter, Phoebe, to free the colonel from his cell in the Tower by disguising him as one of the guardians of the Tower itself: the famous Yeomen of the Guard. Complicating matters further is the arrival of the traveling jester Jack Point, accompanied by his musical partner and wife-to-be, Elsie Maynard, who finds herself in a position to benefit greatly by Fairfax’s execution.

“Anyone familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan dreams of working on Yeomen,” says newcomer Shane Valenzi, making his Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company debut. “It’s the richest, most complex, and most difficult operetta of the entire canon. With great risk comes great reward, however: with laughter and tears in equal measure, experiencing a truly great performance of Yeomen—which this production promises to be—stirs the sort of transcendent emotions that audiences remember long after the actors take their final bows.”

Joining Valenzi is music director Matthew Sheppard, newly appointed Director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra. The talented cast includes some of the Company’s favorites from past productions as well as several outstanding newcomers. Nancy Levner will produce, aided by associate producers Trip Driscoll and Cal Audrain.

Performances take place at Mandel Hall, 1131 East 57th Street, from March 13 through 15. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets can be ordered online at tickets.uchicago.edu, or by calling the Logan Box Office at 773.702.ARTS (2787).

The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, Inc. is a non-profit, community arts and education organization dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert & Sullivan to the highest artistic standards. It has been a mainstay of Chicago’s Hyde Park cultural scene since it was founded in 1960 by three local G&S fans: Nancy Lorie, Robert Ashenhurst, and Roland Bailey.

2015 marks the 31st consecutive year the proceeds from the annual production will benefit the Department of Music’s performance program, whose fifteen ensembles and programs present more than a hundred varied concerts each year.