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Fair moon, to thee I sing - Bab drawing

H.M.S. Pinafore

or The Lass That Loved a Sailor

Music by Arthur Sullivan : Lyrics and Libretto by W.S. Gilbert

Opéra Comique, London - 25 May, 1878 (571 perfs)

Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York (authorised production) - 1 December, 1879


(quarter-deck of HMS Pinafore off Portsmouth)

High spirits prevail aboard HMS Pinafore as Little Buttercup distributes sweets and tobacco to the crew. Ralph Rackstraw's mind, however, is on Josephine. He is in love with her even though she is socially unattainable. Unaware of his affection for her, Josephine is in love with Ralph but pride prevents her from revealing this because of his low station.

Josephine, meanwhile, is sought in marriage by Sir Joseph Porter whose advances she refuses to acknowledge. Sir Joseph holds strong views about the treatment of sailors. He maintains that a British sailor is any man's equal (excepting his own), and should always be treated with politeness without recourse to bad language or abuse. This inspires Ralph to declare his love to Josephine who soon forgets her price and confesses her true feelings to him.

Plans are quickly made to smuggle the couple ashore that night to be married. The only crew member who is not happy at the news is Dick Deadeye. He betrays their intentions to the Captain and they are caught before they can leave the ship. Furious at Ralph's actions, the Captain swears an oath at him which is, unfortunately, overheard by Sir Joseph. He is appalled at such an outburst and turns to Ralph for an explanation. Unfortunately, Ralph only makes matters worse by revealing that he is in love with Josephine.

The situation is saved by Little Buttercup who intervenes to confess how, in her youth, she had fostered two babies from opposite ends of the social ladder. In the course of caring for them she had mixed them up. The baby from the poor background was Captain Corcoran and the other was Ralph. Upon hearing this, Sir Joseph immediately loses all interest in Josephine and gladly resigns her to Ralph, now Captain Rackstraw.


The Rt. Hon Sir Joseph Porter, KCB (First Lord of the Admiralty)
Captain Corcoran (Commanding HMS Pinafore)
Ralph Rackstraw (Able Seaman)
Dick Deadeye (Able Seaman)
Josephine (The Captain's Daughter)
Hebe (Sir Joseph's First Cousin)
Little Buttercup (A Portsmouth Bumboat Woman)


  1. We Sail The Ocean Blue (Chorus)
  2. I'm Called Little Buttercup (Little Buttercup)
  3. The Nightingale (Ralph)
  4. I Am The Captain Of The Pinafore (Captain Corcoran, Chorus)
  5. Sorry Her Lot (Josephine)
  6. Barcarolle - Sir Joseph's Barge Is Seen (Chorus)
  7. I Am The Monarch Of The Sea (Sir Joseph Porter, Cousin Hebe, Chorus)
  8. When I Was A Lad (Sir Joseph Porter, Chorus)
  9. Glee - A British Tar (Ralph, Boatswain, Mate and Chorus)
  10. Refrain Audacious Tar (Joesphine and Ralph)
  11. Finale Act I (Company)
  12. Fair Moon, To Thee I Sing (Captain)
  13. Things Are Seldom What They Seem (Little Buttercup and Captain)
  14. The Hours Creep On Apace (Josephine)
  15. Never Mind The Why And Wherefore (Josephine, Captain Corcoran, Sir Joseph Porter)
  16. Kind Captain, I've Important Information (Captain and Dick Deadeye)
  17. Carefully On Tip-Toe Stealing (Ensemble)
  18. Octet - Farewell, My Own
  19. A Many Years Ago (Little Buttercup)
  20. Quartet and Finale Act II - Oh Joy, Oh Rapture Unforeseen (Josephine, Hebe, Ralph and Deadeye Dick - and company)




(Total number of books=21)

3 Violins 1 ; 3 Violins II ; 2 Violas ; 2 Cellos ; 1 Double Bass ; 1 Flute ; 1 Oboe ; 1 Clarinet ; 1 Horn ; 1 Trumpet ; 1 Trombone ; 1 Timpani ; 1 Percussion ; 1 Piano (optional - annotated vocal score) ; 1 Full Score

Bab drawings of Gilbert & Sullivan characters - H.M.S. Pinafore