This just in!  Frederic was recently released from his apprenticeship to a band of jolly good pirates who have anchored their worthy vessel in Penzance, the most westerly town in Cornwall. Meeting Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, the two fell in love.  Sadly, Frederic learned that he was born on a 29th of February, and since his birthday only happens every leap year, he must remain dutifully indentured to the pirates until his 21st birthday, which won’t come around for another 63 years.  Mabel has graciously agreed to wait for him no matter how long it takes.

Zachary James as the Pirate King in Cincinnati Opera’s The Pirates of Penzance. Photograph: Philip Groshong.

The Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty, a comic opera by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert,had its premiere at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on New Year’s Eve, 1879, four months before its universal century-long run, starting in London in April, 1880.

The first-class Cincinnati production features a charming male and female chorus, and an ensemble cast of terrific singing actors, led by the patter-perfect baritone Patrick Carfizzi as the hilarious “very model of a modern Major General” Stanley.

Bass Zachary James plays to perfection the swashbuckling Pirate King with a heart of gold, while the excellent tenor David Walton and the lovely soprano Lauren Snouffer provide the rapturous Romantic interest. Amber Wagner as the all-purpose cleaning lady in the service of the Pirate King, offers the sonorous chest tones and comic relief that are a “must” in a rollicking G & S operetta.

As the Chief of Police, Bass Samuel Smith keeps the proceedings legal and musically profound, while gamely executing the elaborate choreography with a broken foot.

The visually gorgeous Cincinnati Opera production, designed by James Schuette is a welcomed addition to the season, and this G & S fan hopes for more works of the kind in which the soprano doesn’t die as the curtain falls.

The supple and sensitive conducting of David Agler, and the inventive staging and choreography of Seán Curran, propel the enchanting lunacy of this charmer to a delightful end.

More like this, please!

Rafael de Acha © 2022

Additional performances: JULY 8 at 7:30 P.M. and JULY 10 at 3:00 P.M. all in MUSIC HALL.

Tickets: (513) 241-2742

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