Opera & Musical Theater

Gilbert And Sullivan Society Of Houston Cast Members Sing And Chat About “Princess Ida” (Video)

A conversation, plus studio session, with the director and stars of this summer’s production

“This is women’s lib and women’s education on steroids,” jokes Stage Director, Alistair Donkin, about Princess Ida, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston’s current production. 

The comic opera’s title character is a feminist, who has founded an all-women’s university and who refuses to enter an arranged marriage – one that was arranged when she was only an infant. Ida, who lives in Castle Adamant, holds firmly to her principles to the point of waging a literal Battle of the Sexes!

A former principal player of the legendary D’Oyly Carte Opera Company that can be traced all the way back to Gilbert and Sullivan’s time, Alistair Donkin has been the Houston society’s long-time member and director since 1982. He and fellow cast members visited Houston Public Media’s Geary Performance Studio to sing songs, both funny and touching, from Princess Ida.

Mr. Donkin also sat down to chat about the universal appeal of Gilbert and Sullivan, and how the company has given this 1884 operetta a 21st century twist with references to current politicians and a certain Houston-born pop star.


  • “Minerva! Oh hear me” – Megan Stapleton (Princess Ida)
  • “Today we meet” – Josh La Force (Prince Hilarion)
  • “Whene’r I spoke” – Alistair Donkin (King Gama)
  • “I am a maiden, cold and stately” – Josh La Force (Prince Hilarion), Dennis Arrowsmith (Florian) and Stuart Aron (Cyril)

All performances feature pianist Yoojin Lee and were recorded by Todd Hulslander, with videography by Troy Schulze.

The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston presents Princess Ida in its final weekend of performances: Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 at 8pm and Sunday, July 31 at 2:30pm at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater.


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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