“Listen, and you shall hear the legend …”

—Dame Hannah


The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company was founded in 1979, by Dick Fishel and Jim Hart.  That year, the company produced its first operetta, Gilbert & Sullivan’s one act, Trial by Jury.

Since then, and for over forty years, the company has presented fully staged productions of all thirteen of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, ranging from perennial favorites, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, to the lesser-known Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke.

The company has also gone outside the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire and has performed Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach, The Zoo by B. C. Stephenson and Arthur Sullivan, as well as a concert version of The Rose of Persia by Basil Hood and Arthur Sullivan, and a semi-staged production of the comic Gilbert and Sullivan parody, The Da Vinci Coda.

In addition, the company regularly appears with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, in the summer, to present a concert version of one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.  The company also had an extraordinarily successful appearance at the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival with a critically acclaimed staging of Trial by Jury. Beginning in 2018, the company has presented very successful cabaret performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works in Twin Cities night club venues.

Past and Future Productions

The following is a listing of The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s mainstage productions, from those scheduled in the near future, back to the company’s founding:

In the Future!    
Patience Spring 2025
The Mikado Fall 2024
Next On Stage!    
Utopia, Limited Spring 2024
Our Mainstage Productions!  
H.M.S. Pinafore Fall 2023
The Sorcerer Spring 2023
The Pirates of Penzance Fall 2022
Ruddigore Spring 2022
Ruddigore 2020
The Mikado 2019
Princess Ida 2018
Orpheus in the Underworld Fall 2017
The Gondoliers Spring 2017
Iolanthe 2016
Trial by Jury Summer 2015
H.M.S. Pinafore Spring 2015
The Grand Duke 2014
The Yeomen of the Guard 2013
Patience 2012
The Pirates of Penzance 2011
The Sorcerer 2010
Ruddigore 2009
Utopia, Limited 2008
The Mikado 2007
Princess Ida 2006
The Gondoliers 2005
Iolanthe 2004
The Grand Duke 2003
Patience 2002
H.M.S. Pinafore 2001
Orpheus in the Underworld 2000
The Yeomen of the Guard 1999
The Pirates of Penzance 1998
The Sorcerer 1997
Trial by Jury / The Zoo Fall 1996
The Mikado Spring 1996
Ruddigore 1995
The Gondoliers 1994
Princess Ida 1993
Iolanthe 1992
The Grand Duke 1991
Patience 1990
H.M.S. Pinafore 1989
Utopia, Limited 1988
The Yeomen of the Guard 1987
The Pirates of Penzance 1986
The Sorcerer Fall 1985
The Mikado Spring 1985
The Gondoliers 1984
Ruddigore 1983
Princess Ida 1982
Iolanthe 1981
Patience 1980
Trial by Jury 1979