Shows P

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE or The Slave of Duty Music by Arthur Sullivan; Lyrics and Libretto by W.S. Gilbert Bijou Theatre, Paignton, Devon - 30 December, 1879 Opéra Comique, London - 3 April, 1880 Savoy Theatre, London - 23 December, 1884 Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York - 31 December, 1879 THE STORY (The coast of Cornwall) The pirates of Penzance (a rather tender-hearted band, made up exclusively of orphans and unable to harm anyone of similar background) are celebrating Frederic's coming of age and subsequent release from his apprenticeship to them. He joined the pirates as a child owing to a mistake by Ruth, his nursemaid, who misheard his father's instructions to apprentice him to a pilot. She has remained with Frederic ever since and now harbours a desire to marry him. However, Frederic has met and fallen in love with Mabel whose sisters the pirates have claimed as their future brides. Their father, the General, is horrified at this prospect and declares himself to be an orphan, knowing that this will effect their immediate release. As an ex-pirate, Frederic now feels that his duty is to society and he wastes no time in assembling a police force to capture the pirates. He is, therefore, dismayed when he learns from Ruth and the Pirate King that, due to the fact that his birthday is on 29th February and only occurs once every four years, he has in effect only had five birthdays; the terms of his apprenticeship state that he is bound to the pirates until his 21 st birthday. Consequently, feeling that his loyalty is now to the pirates again, he reveals that the General is not really an orphan. The Pirate King is furious that he has been tricked and he plots to capture the General, his daughters and the policemen and take his revenge. This task proves no problem to his band of men until the Sergeant demands that they surrender in the name of Queen Victoria. This is too much for them and they yield to the request. However, as they are about to be taken into custody Ruth reveals that they are not really pirates at all, but noblemen who have gone astray. On hearing this, the General orders their release, restores them to their rightful ranks and offers them his daughters in marriage. PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS (plus Chorus) • Major-General Stanley • The Pirate King Samuel (his Lieutenant) • Frederic (the Pirate Apprentice) • Sergeant of Police • Mabel, Kate, Isabel and Edith (General Stanley's Daughters) • Ruth (a Pirate Maid of all Work) MUSICAL NUMBERS Overture (includes With cat-like tread, Ah, leave me not to pine, Pray observe the magnanimity, When you had left our pirate fold, Climbing over rocky mountain, and How beautifully blue the sky)