Opera Columbus to Welcome New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Begin. 3/7

Opera Columbus to Welcome New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Begin. 3/7Join the band of swashbuckling buccaneers, bumbling British bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightfully dotty "model of a modern Major-General" for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall. This exuberant musical theater masterpiece, directed and conducted by Albert Bergeret with choreography by Bill Fabris, is performed in its original format with the Opera Columbus Chorus and Columbus Symphony.

Opera Columbus presents The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players in The Pirates of Penzance at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.). There will be a preview performance on Friday, March 7, at 8 pm, and additional performances on Saturday, March 8, at 8 pm, and Sunday, March 9, at 2 pm. Tickets are $38-$98 (preview tickets are $15 general admission seating) at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Young people aged 13-25 may purchase $5 PNC Arts Alive All Access tickets while available. For more information, visit www.GoFor5.com.

The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, was first performed at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on December 31, 1879. It was the only Gilbert & Sullivan operetta to have its world premiere in the US, and it h as remained popular both here and throughout the English-speaking world ever since. Gilbert's wit (always incisive but never vicious or dated) and Sullivan's memorable score (including the original tune from which "hail, hail the gang's all here" is drawn) are among the most valuable treasures of musical theatre history.

Patter songs are a Gilbert & Sullivan trademark and Pirates features the most famous of them all-"I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General." This jaunty tune has been cleverly set to different words countless times (Tom Lehrer's element song a notable example) and used in a myriad of commercials. Pirates also contains some of Gilbert's most famous lyrics such as the often used quotation, "A policeman's lot is not a happy one," from the Act Two lament of the diffident "men in blue." Other highlights of the show include "For I am a Pirate King," the pirates' "Here's a First Rate Opportunity," the policemen's "When the Foeman Bears His Steel," and Mabel's show-stopping coloratura aria, "Poor Wand'ring One."

The plot of Pirates centers on the dilemma of young Frederic, who as a child was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday. Since he was born in leap year on February 29, he is honor-bound to remain a pirate until the distant date of 1940, despite his moral objection to piracy. Helping Frederic to deal with this unusual predicament are the brash Pirate King, Ruth (the pirate maid-of-all-work), romantic Mabel, and the delightfully stuff Major-General Stanley.

Photo credit: NYGASP

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