Troupers Light Opera presented
The Pirates of Penzance
on May 12, 18, 19, 2001 at 8 pm
and May 13, 2001 at 2:30 pm
Hope you saw it! Below are information and pictures from our show.
Cast in costumes
|Major General Stanley -David Schancupp
|The Pirate King -Chris Howard
|Frederic, the Pirate apprentice
|Mabel -Amy Beebe||
Sergeant of Police
|Ruth, Piratical maid of all work
|Samuel -Chris Coppola
|Edith -Victoria Font
|Isabelle -Heather Handley
Kate - Margo Brody
Peerless post-pubescent pirate proposes to progeny of pompous patter-singing panjandrum. Preposterous pandemonium prevails.
Twenty years prior to the opening Frederick was apprenticed to a Pirate, rather than a Pilot owing to Ruth's being hard of hearing. At the dawn of his 21st year he prepares to leave the pirates and take his place in well-bred society. He encounters Major General Stanley's beautiful daughters bathing along the coast and falls in love with Mabel, the only maiden who feels she can fall in love with a Pirate. The Major General is not pleased with this, but threatened by the Pirates claims he is an orphan boy, playing on their sympathy. When the pirates discover they have been duped, they seek revenge. Unfortunately Ruth discovers that Frederic was born on February 29, and his indenture will continue for many years yet. Meanwhile the bumbling police force sets out to attack the pirates and protect the Major General. When they are subdued, they claim the pirates must be loyal to Queen Victoria and thus must spare them. Then Ruth reveals that the pirates are all noblemen "who have gone wrong," and all is forgiven. Frederick marries Mabel and the pirates his other daughters and all ends happily.
While not a satire in the way Pinafore (the Navy) or Iolanthe (Parliament) are, Pirates spoofs the stilted society where rank (and duty) matter much more than ability. The Major General admits his knowledge is nearly 100 years out of date, and the pirates fall to their knees to salute their Queen (Victoria).
Some feel that this blatant obeisance was Gilbert's attempt to re-ingratiate himself with the Queen after all his satirical barbs had made the government a little uncomfortable. Sullivan had been knighted by Victoria, but Gilbert was not knighted until 25 years later, after Victoria's death.
Musically, Pirates contains some of Sullivan's most popular melodies. Mabel's surprising dead-pan coloratura aria ("Poor Wandering One") clearly spoofs Verdi, as do Frederic and Mabel's 2nd act Recitative/Duet/Recitative/Solo broadsides. "All is Prepared"/"Stay Frederic Stay,"/"No, I Am Prepared"
Newcomers to Pirates may also be surprised to find that the Pirates song "Come Friends Who Plow the Sea," is the original setting of the political tune, "Hail, hail, the gang's all here." And, of course, Pirates contains one of G&S's most challenging and popular patter songs, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General."
The somewhat foolish Police have the popular second act chorus "When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment," where they note that "a policeman's lot is not a happy one."
Because Sullivan wrote the Pirates as tenors and the Police as basses, there is some very nice men's choral work in the second act in "With Cat-like Tread." The women's chorus have some lovely moments in the first act, "Climbing Over Rocky Mountains." Interestingly, this song was originally used as a chorus in the first G&S opera, Thespis, from which all other music but one solo has been lost.
Finally, Pirates contains the G&S anthem "Hail, Poetry," a rousing chorale the chorus sings as part of the first act finale. This lovely piece is so popular that many G&S companies use it as a curtain call in every show and celebration.
The Pirates of Penzance refers to more than one kind of Pirates. At one time there were no less than 8 productions of Pinafore running in New York, and owing to the lack of international copyright, Gilbert and Sullivan realized not a penny from any of them. Determined to profit from their work, they brought their Pinafore production to New York, and while there, premiered Pirates in order to try to establish US copyright. This unfortunately was later turned down by a US judge who felt that no Englishman had a right to any copyright in America.
Troupers Light Opera
Darien, CT 06820-0859
Barbara Stretton 203-637-5845
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