Pirates of Penzance
by Gilbert and Sullivan
Young pirate-in-training Frederic can’t wait for his 21st birthday, the day his erroneous pirate apprenticeship ends….or does it? Born in a Leap Year, Frederic discovers he must remain with the raucous band and delay a future with the lovely Mabel who promises to wait, much to the chagrin of her father, the Major General. Bound by his own sense of duty and loyalty to the Pirate King, will Frederic be forced to sail away into the sunset alone or fly high on the seas of love?
Gilbert brings the best patter song in all of opera and Sullivan makes us swoon with catchy tunes in this funny and hopeful farce of an operetta. Add SDO favorite Greer Grimsley and his family in the lead roles and you’ll be hooked on this swashbuckling favorite about love, laughter and loyalty.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
As One: Stage Director, Kyle Lang
Kyle Lang has worked with the company for a few seasons now in the position of assistant director and, for The Pirates of Penzance, associate director. In this conversation with Dr. Nic he discusses his approach to the opera As One, especially the difference between preparing a standard repertoire item like Tosca or La boheme, and a relatively new opera. Enjoy!
Monday, October 9, 2017
Meet the Director: Seán Curran
Stage director and choreographer Seán Curran has been here before...San Diego, that is! He had done the principal choreography for Opera St. Louis' Nixon in China and was the director of Salome with Lise Lindstrom a few seasons back. He is the originating director of the current production of The Pirates of Penzance and he has a delightful story to tell about its artistic evolution...from a popular children's book! Enjoy.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Meeting the Pirate King & Ruth: Greer Grimsley and Luretta Bybee
What fun to welcome back bass-baritone Greer Grimsley as the Pirate King, and mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance. (As Luretta points out at the end of this conversation with Dr. Nic, she made her professional debut with San Diego Opera as Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes 1984.) We catch up with this delightful husband-wife team in this wide ranging interview about life, love and opera. Enjoy!
Friday, September 29, 2017
Meeting Mabel: soprano, Maureen McKay
Soprano Maureen McKay is back in San Diego after her wonderful portrayal of Nanetta in Verdi's Falstaff earlier this year. Singing the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance brings her closer to her musical theatre roots. Listen in and enjoy!
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Meet the Major General: baritone, Patrick Carfizzi
If you want to have 12 minutes of fun, listen in to this conversation between baritone Patrick Carfizzi and Dr. Nic as they discuss Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance"! This is comic opera at it's finest and at its most fun. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The Operas of Sir Arthur Sullivan
The musicians at the New York premiere of The Pirates of Penzance threatened to strike because the score was too difficult, too "operatic"! Silly, of course, but perhaps they had a point. There are many allusions and parodies of current opera styles in Sullivan's score. In this podcast, Dr. Nic gives us an idea of just how the composer went about it, and why. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
The Three Premieres of The Pirates of Penzance
Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance had a complicated birth that was something of a scheduling nightmare. In order to acquire copyright for the U.S. (where there was a notorious history of unauthorized performances of their works), they premiered Pirates in New York. But to acquire a British copyright they had to stage a performance there as well, at virtually the same time. And then, of course, there was the "official" premiere at the Savoy in London, the theatre of their producer Richard D'Oyly Carte. Dr. Nic will try to sort it through for you!
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Pirates of Penzance: Background
Gilbert & Sullivan have been missing from our production seasons up til now. No more! In this podcast Dr. Nic shares some background on this most operatic of their works, looking forward to a brilliant production that will open on October 14, 2017! Enjoy!
Pirates of Penzance
A rocky seashore on the coast of Cornwall!
The pirates offer a toast to Frederic who is celebrating his 21st birthday and the end of his apprenticeship. Ruth, a maid who also works with the pirates, explains that when Frederic was younger she was instructed by his father to have the small boy apprenticed to a pilot, but she misheard and instead took Frederic to a pirate.
Now that his obligation to the pirates has ended, duty compels Frederic to devote himself to destroying them. When the men admit their inability to make piracy pay, Frederic explains that they are themselves slaves to their tender hearts, particularly regarding their refusal to take advantage of anyone they believe to be an orphan. Frederic wishes he could bring the pirates back to a respectable life, but the Pirate King rejects that possibility.
Ruth longs for Frederic to take her with him when he leaves. He admits that he is reluctant to marry her, though he is satisfied that, despite her age, she is beautiful. But when he sees a group of lovely young women approaching, he rages at her for deceiving him.
The young women are astonished to encounter Frederic and horrified to hear that he is a pirate. He assures them that he only wants to love one of them. They all reject him except Mabel.
The pirates surprise the girls and anticipate soon becoming their husbands. Their father, the Major General, enters and objects to the girls being married against their wills to pirates. He lies his way out of the situation by claiming to be an orphan. The girls are released from the pirates’ clutches, as Mabel and Frederic – ignoring the pleas of Ruth – look forward to their marriage.
On Major-General Stanley’s estate: a ruined chapel by moonlight
The Major-General believes his lie about being an orphan has shamed the family name and he fears the consequences. Frederic will soon march against the pirates accompanied by the police.
Ruth and the Pirate King enter. They explain that Frederic was to be apprenticed until his twenty first birthday but having been born in a leap year on 29 February, he is officially only five. The Pirate King insists that Frederic respect his own sense of duty, whereupon the obedient young man informs him that the Major General lied about being an orphan. The Pirate King and Ruth swear vengeance.
Frederic informs Mabel that he will not reach his twenty-first birthday until 1940. Convinced that he can ignore the pirates’ claim, she begs him to remain with her and swears to be faithful, even though he is a slave of duty and feels compelled to re-join the pirates.
Afflicted by insomnia, the Major General enters. Frederic and the pirates seize the Major General and overcome the police. When the Sergeant implores the pirates to yield in the Queen’s name, Ruth reveals that they are in fact peers of the realm. With this revelation, they are pardoned by the Major-General, who rewards them with the girls’ hands in marriage.
Oct92017Director Seán Curran Brings His Own Catlike Tread into San Diego Opera’s Production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’
STARS IN THE SALON - Hosted by David Bennett, General Director
Pirates of Penzance - October 5, 2017 at 5:30pm
Join the stars of Pirates of Penzance in Stars in the Salon. This is a thrilling experience for anyone who loves opera. We welcome our distinguished guest panels for a provocative look at the music, characters and behind-the-scenes work which is so important to each production. The Civic Theatre’s beautiful Beverly Sills Salon acts as the setting for this enjoyable discussion where audience members have a chance to meet the stars and ask their own questions of the leading singers, conductors and directors first hand! All sessions are open to the public and free of charge.► Learn More
PIRATES OF PENZANCE POST-OPERA CAST PARTY
Saturday, October 14, 2017 after performance
The US Grant Hotel
Join us immediately following the opening night performance when we’ll journey a few short blocks to The US Grant. We’ll meet the artists from Pirates of Penzance and enjoy a wine and champagne reception with light hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Post-Opera Cast Party tickets are $100 per person. ADD TO YOUR TICKET ORDER TODAY!
Already have your Pirates of Penzance tickets? Purchase your cast party tickets here!