Ring the merry bells on board-ship

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

It was the fourth collaboration and their first that was wildly successful - premiered in 1858. It's also one of the most acerbic comments on the class system by Gilbert and possibly inspired more spoofs than any G&S and been performed more often than most.

We're showing the 2005 Australian Opera production with David Hobson (Ralph Rackstraw), Anthony Warlow (Corcoran), Tiffany Speight (Josephine), Collette Mann (Buttercup), John Bolton-Wood (Admiral).

Pinafore at the Opera Comique, 1878.

David Hobson desperate in love

in case you recall the AO version we'll view on Friday, and require something different, here's two options to revive your memories.

BBC Proms is on YouTube with a concert version from 2005 with a brilliant and star cast. BBC Concert Orchestra with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting - enjoy that music!! And check out who you're hearing. Little Buttercup is sung by marvelous mezzo Felicity Palmer. Timothy Robinson is Ralph, Sally Matthews Josephine, and baritone Neal Davies the Captain, Richard Suart (right) is the ruler of the Queen's navee...

and I could go on! Tim Brooke-Taylor narrates, with lots of commentary. Play it loud this week!

And then here's a great amateur spoof. The highly talented young MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players have provided a Star Trek style production, full opera here for your entertainment on YouTube. I couldn't summarize better than they:

The MIT group takes it to the stars.

'Not content with her earthly empire, Great Britain has turned her gaze outward, and Her Majesty's Navy now patrols the vast expanse of the final frontier. But where England goes, so goes her notorious class system...

With Romulans in the neutral zone, restless Klingons itching for a fight, and Josephine's social-climbing father, and captain, determined to marry her off to a pompous admiral, the stakes have never been higher for Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous lass and the sailor she loves.'

Poster from the original 1878 production (Wiki)

The libretto is super-Gilbert, laden with wicked commentary, vacuous sayings, lovely allusions. Sullivan's tunes wonderful and dances inevitable when we're on the seas. Check out the list of dance arrangements on gsarchive - galop, quadrille, barcarolle, etc. The home page for Pinafore will take you to the full libretto if you wish to follow it. Or follow or print out the hit song lyrics from my summary below.

Pinafore hit songs
Download DOCX • 106KB