The Pirates of Penzance – Fall 2021
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company is pleased to announce that it will present The Pirates of Penzance, for four weekends, from October 29 to November 21, 2021.
One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas, The Pirates of Penzance tells the story of Frederic, who was apprenticed, as a child, to a band of tenderhearted, orphaned pirates by his nurse who, being hard of hearing, had mistaken her master’s instructions to apprentice the boy to a pilot. Frederic, upon completing his 21st year, rejoices that he has fulfilled his indentures and is now free to return to respectable society. It turns out, however, that he was born on February 29th in leap year, and he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday. By the end of the opera, the pirates, a Major General who knows nothing of military strategy, his large family of beautiful, but unwed daughters, and the timid constabulary all contribute to a cacophony that can be silenced only by Queen Victoria’s name.
The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty was Gilbert and Sullivan’s fifth collaboration, following their extraordinarily successful production of H.M.S. Pinafore. The Pirates of Penzance opened simultaneously in England and America. The opera premiered on December 31, 1879 at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York with Sullivan conducting, but a single performance had been given on the previous day at the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, England, to secure the British copyright. Finally, the opera opened on April 3, 1880, at the Opéra Comique in London, where it ran for 363 performances, having already been playing successfully for over three months in New York.
Two excellent internet resources for information about The Pirates of Penzance
The Sorcerer – Spring 2022
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company is pleased to announce that it will present The Sorcerer, from March 11 to April 3, 2022.
The Sorcerer’s plot involves an engaged couple, Alexis and Aline, the son and daughter of the community’s two aristocratic families. The couple wish that everyone could be as happy in love as they are. In addition, Alexis believes that love should level all ranks and social distinctions. To achieve both goals, Alexis hires John Wellington Wells of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers, to put a love potion into the tea that the villagers will drink at a celebration in honor of the couple. The love potion causes everyone in the village to fall in love with the first person they see, regardless of rank or social distinction. This results in the pairing of comically mismatched couples … including Alexis and Aline’s parents. All is made right in the end, when a sacrifice is made to break the spell.
The Sorcerer was Gilbert and Sullivan’s third collaboration, following Trial by Jury and proceeding H.M.S. Pinafore. The operetta satirized Victorian era class distinctions and operatic conventions. The success of The Sorcerer cemented Gilbert and Sullivan’s partnership and set the pattern and style that made Gilbert and Sullivan’s following operas so successful. The Sorcerer opened on November 17, 1877 and ran for 175 performances.
Two excellent internet resources for information about The Sorcerer:
All performances will be at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, at Plymouth Congregational Church, located at 1900 Nicollet Avenue South, in Minneapolis. Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 7:30 pm. The Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2:00 pm.
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