A most excellent Gilbert and Sullivan opera, if opera indeed can any of their works be called.

(Stolen from a pirates fansite:)
"A veritable slave to duty, Frederic has faithfully served for 13 years the pirates to whom he was apprenticed by mistake. released from his indentures, he now feels duty-bound to exterminate his erstwhile companions in crime. No sooner ashore than Frederic falls in love, and finds himself torn between loyalty to his beloved Mabel's Major-General of a father and the pirates to whom, it transpires, he is still bound by moral, if not legal, ties..."

The songs are:
"Pour, O Pour the Pirate Sherry"
"When Frederic Was a Little Lad"
"Oh, Better Far to Live and Die"
"Oh, False One, You Have Deceived Me"
"Climbing Over Rocky Mountain"
"Stop, Ladies, Pray!"
"Oh, Is There Not One Maiden Breast"
"Poor Wandering One!"
"What Ought We To Do"
"How Beautifully Blue The Sky"
"Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses"
"Hold, Monsters!"
"I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General"
"Oh, Men of Dark and Dismal Fate"
"Oh, Dry The Glistening Tear"
"Then, Frederic, Let You Escort Lion Hearted"
"When the Foeman Bares His Steel"
"Now for the Pirates Lair!"
"When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold"
"Away, Away! My Heart's on Fire"
"All Is Prepared"
"Stay, Frederic, Stay"
"Ah, Leave Me Not to Pine"
"No, I Am Brave"
"When A Felon's Not Engaged In His Employment"
"A Rollicking Band of Pirates We"
"With Cat-Like Tread, Upon Our Prey We Steal"
"Hush, Hush! Not a Word"
The Pirates of Penzance(1983) directed by Wilford Leach, starring Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, and Linda Ronstadt.

An excellent production of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance or the Slave of Duty. Written and first performed in the nineteenth century, it is full of both sarcasm and irony. The actors seem to be aware of their strange habit of breaking into song. Says the Pirate King in surprise to a crewmember as they begin the I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General song: "It's the same as the Pirate King Tune!"

I have seen two live productions (Arizona State University and London Regent's Park Outdoor Theater) of this operetta--this VHS production is equal, if not better, in humor, talent, costume and general ridiculousness.

Not your common musical or opera, and cannot really be grouped with either. Highly recommended.



I should note, however, (thanks to Sondheim for pointing this out) that this VHS production, along with many of the current live productions, is an "updated" version of the original operetta. Its humor is less subtle, some musical numbers are missing (some are added, for that matter), and it is in a different tone from traditional Gilbert and Sullivan. I think it is an excellent transition for those who are intimidated by the word "operetta" or for children who may not catch the subtle humor in a more traditional version.
This operetta was a very sharp attack on the nobility of England. Upon seeing it, Queen Victoria said, "We are not amused." With good reason too--they had accused the aristocracy of piracy.

The key to the whole thing is at the very end when the pirates all say, "We are all noblemen who have gone wrong." In the (otherwise excellent) film version, it sounds like "noble men."

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