They have realised that Frederic's apprenticeship was worded so as to bind him to them until his twenty-first birthday — and, because that birthday happens to be on the 29th of February in a leap year , it means that technically only five birthdays have passed "When you had left our pirate fold" , and he will not reach his twenty-first birthday until he is in his eighties. Frederic is convinced by this logic and agrees to rejoin the pirates. He then sees it as his duty to inform the Pirate King of the Major-General's deception.
The outraged outlaw declares that the pirates' "revenge will be swift and terrible" "Away, away, my heart's on fire". Frederic meets Mabel "All is prepared" , and she pleads with him to stay "Stay Frederic, stay" , but he feels bound by his duty to the pirates until his 21st birthday — in They agree to be faithful to each other until then, though to Mabel "It seems so long" "Oh here is love and here is truth" ; Frederic departs.
Mabel steels herself "No, I'll be brave" and tells the police that they must go alone to face the pirates. They muse that an outlaw might be just like any other man, and it is a shame to deprive him of "that liberty which is so dear to all" "When a felon's not engaged in his employment".
The police hide on hearing the approach of the pirates "A rollicking band of pirates we" , who have stolen onto the estate, intending to avenge themselves for the Major-General's lie "With cat-like tread".
Just then, Major-General Stanley appears, sleepless with guilt, and the pirates also hide "Hush, hush! The girls come looking for him "Now what is this and what is that". The pirates leap to the attack, and the police rush to the defence; but the police are easily defeated, and the Pirate King urges the captured Major-General to prepare for death. The Sergeant has one stratagem left: Ruth appears and reveals that the pirates are "all noblemen who have gone wrong".
The Major-General is impressed by this and all is forgiven. Frederic and Mabel are reunited, and the Major-General is happy to marry his daughters to the noble pirates after all.
Act I; No. 3. "Oh, better far to live and die" (Pirate King, Chorus), p. 92
The notices from critics were generally excellent in both New York and London in The Herald took the view that "the new work is in every respect superior to the Pinafore , the text more humorous, the music more elegant and more elaborate. It demands a closer attention to the words [but] there are great stores of wit and drollery The music is fresh, bright, elegant and merry, and much of it belongs to a higher order of art than the most popular of the tunes of Pinafore. After the London premiere, the critical consensus, led by the theatrical newspaper The Era , was that the new work marked a distinct advance on Gilbert and Sullivan's earlier works.
Sullivan's music we must speak in detail on some other occasion. Suffice it for the present to say that in the new style which he has marked out for himself it is the best he has written. That no composer can meet the requirements of Mr. Sullivan, and vice versa , is a fact universally admitted. One might fancy that verse and music were of simultaneous growth, so closely and firmly are they interwoven. Away from this consideration, the score of The Pirates of Penzance is one upon which Mr. Sullivan must have bestowed earnest consideration, for independently of its constant flow of melody, it is written throughout for voices and instruments with infinite care, and the issue is a cabinet miniature of exquisitely defined proportions.
Pinafore , cannot be denied; it contains more variety, marked character, careful workmanship, and is in fact a more finished artistic achievement … a brilliant success. There were a few dissenting comments: The Manchester Guardian thought both author and composer had drawn on the works of their predecessors: Sullivan's music is sprightly, tuneful and full of 'go', although it is certainly lacking in originality. It follows the pattern of most Savoy opera overtures: The score parodies several composers, most conspicuously Verdi. Sullivan even managed to parody two composers at once.
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Writing about patter songs , Shaw, in his capacity as a music critic, praised "the time-honored lilt which Sir Arthur Sullivan, following the example of Mozart and Rossini , chose for the lists of accomplishments of the Major-General in The Pirates or the Colonel in Patience. This opera contains two well-known examples of Sullivan's characteristic combination of two seemingly disparate melodies. Jacobs writes that "the whole number [shifts] with Schubertian ease from B to G and back again.
Sullivan set a particular vocal challenge for the soprano who portrays Mabel. The Sullivan scholar Gervase Hughes wrote, "Mabel Because the work was premiered in three different places the Paignton performance and the full productions in New York and London , there are more variations in the early libretto and score of The Pirates of Penzance than in other Gilbert and Sullivan works.
Songs sent from New York to the D'Oyly Carte touring company in England for the Paignton premiere were then altered or omitted during Broadway rehearsals.
Gilbert and Sullivan trimmed the work for the London premiere, and Gilbert made further alterations up to and including the Savoy revival. For example, early versions depicted the Pirate King as the servant of the pirate band,  and the words of the opening chorus were, "Pour, O King, the pirate sherry". Gilbert deleted the exchange in the revival, and the Chappell vocal score was revised accordingly. For the revival Gilbert had the pirates yielding "in good King Edward's name". In its production, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company restored one of the original versions of the finale, which finishes with a variation of "I am the very model of a modern major-general", rather than with the customary reprise of "Poor wand'ring one",  but in later revivals, it reverted to the more familiar text.
The Pirates of Penzance has been one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular comic operas. After its unique triple opening in —80, it was revived in London at the Savoy Theatre in and in , and for the Savoy's repertory season of — In the British provinces, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company toured it almost continuously from —, and again in It re-entered the D'Oyly Carte touring repertory in and was never again absent until the company's closure in Peter Goffin created a new touring set in The first non-D'Oyly Carte professional production in a country that had been subject to Gilbert's copyright other than Williamsons' authorised productions was in Stratford, Ontario , Canada, in September In , the Torbay branch of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society presented a centenary tribute to the world premiere performance of Pirates in Paignton, with a production at the Palace Avenue Theatre situated a few metres from the former Bijou Theatre.
New York has seen over forty major revivals since the premiere. As discussed below, Joseph Papp 's —83 Pirates ran for nearly two years each on Broadway and in the West End, boosting the opera's popularity.
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Professional and amateur productions of the opera continue with frequency. The following table shows the history of the D'Oyly Carte productions in Gilbert's lifetime excluding tours:. The following tables show the casts of the principal original productions and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company touring repertory at various times through to the company's closure:. Musical direction and arrangements were by William Elliott. The show played for 10 previews and 35 performances. It then transferred to Broadway, opening on 8 January for a run of 20 previews and regular performances at the Uris and Minskoff Theatres.
This take on Pirates earned enthusiastic reviews  and seven Tony Award nominations, winning three, including the award for Best Revival and for Leach as director. It was also nominated for eight Drama Desk Awards , winning five, including Outstanding Musical and director. Compared with traditional productions of the opera, Papp's Pirates featured a more swashbuckling Pirate King and Frederic, and a broader, more musical comedy style of singing and humour. It did not significantly change the libretto, but it used a new orchestration and arrangements that changed some keys, added repeats, lengthened dance music and made other minor changes in the score.
Pinafore , two other Gilbert and Sullivan operas, were interpolated into the show. Kline won a Tony Award for his performance. The six-week limited season was followed by an Australian national tour from to and another come-back tour with same cast in the mids. The Papp production was turned into a film in , with the original Broadway principal cast reprising their roles, except that Angela Lansbury replaced Estelle Parsons as Ruth. The minor roles used British actors miming to their Broadway counterparts. The film has been shown occasionally on television.
Another film based loosely on the opera and inspired by the success of the Papp version, The Pirate Movie , was released during the Broadway run. The Papp production design has been widely imitated in other modern productions of Pirates , even where traditional orchestration and the standard score are used. The designs and musical arrangements created for the Papp production are protected by copyright; an unlicensed production mounted in Dublin in advance of Papp's own London production was enjoined from transferring to London by a successful lawsuit. Not all of these revivals have generated the same enthusiasm as Papp's s productions.
A UK touring production received this critique: But all that's left now The Pirates of Penzance has been recorded many times, and the critical consensus is that it has fared well on record. In each of the previous Savoy albums there have been occasional lapses which prevented one from awarding them unqualified praise; but with the Pirates it is happily otherwise; from first to last, and in every bar, a simply delightful production.
Of the available commercial videos, the Discography site considers the Brent Walker better than the Papp version. Pirates is one of the most frequently referenced works of Gilbert and Sullivan. The Major-General's Song , in particular, is frequently parodied, pastiched and used in advertising. Pastiche examples include the Animaniacs version, "I am the very model of a cartoon individual", in the episode "H. Yakko";  the Doctor Who audio "I am the very model of a Gallifreyan buccaneer" in Doctor Who and the Pirates ;  the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip version in the episode "The Cold Open" , where the cast performs "We'll be the very model of a modern network TV show";  and the Mass Effect 2 video game version, where the character Mordin Solus sings: The song is often used in film and on television, unchanged in many instances, as a character's audition piece, or seen in a "school play" scene.
In The Muppet Show season 3, episode 4 guest host, comedian Gilda Radner , sings the song with a 7-foot-tall 2. Examples of the use of the song in advertising include Martyn Green 's pastiche of the song listing all of the varieties of Campbell's Soup  and a Geico commercial in which a couple that wants to save money, but still listen to musicals, finds a roommate, dressed as the Major-General, who awkwardly begins the song while dancing on a coffee table.
The Three Musketeers , there is a performance of Pirates that becomes the setting for the climactic battle between the Musketeers and Captain Pete. Pirates songs sung in the cartoon are "With cat-like tread", "Poor wand'ring one", "Climbing over rocky mountain" and the Major-General's song. Television references, in addition to those mentioned above, included the series The West Wing , where Pirates and other Gilbert and Sullivan operas are mentioned in several episodes, especially by Deputy Communications Director, Sam Seaborn , who was recording secretary of his school's Gilbert and Sullivan society.
Both TV series were created by Aaron Sorkin. In the pilot episode of the CBS series Flashpoint , a police officer and his partner sing the policeman's song. In an Assy McGee episode entitled "Pegfinger", Detective Sanchez's wife is a member of a community theatre that performs the opera. In a episode of the animated television adaptation of The Wind in the Willows entitled A Producer's Lot , several characters put on a production of Pirates.
Other notable instances of references to Pirates include a New York Times article on 29 February , memorialising that Frederic was finally out of his indentures. In , Isaac Asimov wrote a short story called "The Year of the Action", concerning whether the action of Pirates took place on 1 March , or 1 March depending on whether Gilbert took into account the fact that was not a leap year.
The music from the chorus of "With cat-like tread", which begins "Come, friends, who plough the sea," was used in the popular American song, " Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cultural influence of Gilbert and Sullivan. Information from the Savoyoperas. Otherwise, the action of the play would take place in instead of , and the figure would be 67 years. See Bradley , p. University of Kansas Libraries, Gilbert and Sullivan at Law , pp. What's the origin of the skull and crossbones pirate flag?
This followed a closure of the Opera Comique for repairs that Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte used to give them an argument that the original run of the production had "closed".
Sullivan wrote to a former producer, John Hollingshead of the Gaiety Theatre , saying: I asked you for the band parts of the Merry Wives of Windsor I am detaining the parts of Pinafore , so that the directors shall not take them away from the Comique tomorrow, and I base my claim on the precedent you set.
The Comedy Opera Company directors engaged another theatre to play a rival production of Pinafore , but they had no scenery. On 31 July, they sent a group of thugs to the Opera Comique to seize the scenery and props during the evening performance of Pinafore. Stagehands and cast members managed to ward off their backstage attackers and protect the scenery.
The police arrived to restore order, and the show continued. The matter was eventually settled in court, where a judge ruled in Carte's favour about two years later.
Related The Pirates of Penzance - Act I, No. 4: Oh, better far to live and die - Vocal Score
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