College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

CU Opera to open with ‘Pirates of Penzance’ Oct. 24-26

April 30, 2014

CU Opera will open its 2014-15 season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s beloved comic operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” at Macky Auditorium Oct. 24-26.

“This is one of the two or three most important pieces by Gilbert and Sullivan, and we’ve got just the right students to fill these roles,” says Leigh Holman, director of CU Opera. “This is a delightful piece and audiences just go crazy for it.” 

The classic opera replaces the previously announced title for those dates, “Kiss Me Kate,” due to contractual issues. 

The light opera tells the story of the young buccaneer Frederic, raised on the high seas by the eponymous pirates. Now 21, he wants to exit that life, but due to a quirk of his birth is forced to stay on. Having seen only one woman in his life, aging Ruth, Frederic then falls in love with Mabel, daughter of a military officer. But to marry her, he must defeat the swashbucklers he’s known all his life.

Gilbert and Sullivan made a point of including political commentary and satire when writing in the late 19th-century and it’s traditional to work in contemporary references. 

“We will definitely be including that kind of topical political humor,” says Holman, who will work on those adaptations with Opera Music Director Nick Carthy. 

The College of Music hosted a summer musical festival for many years, usually including one or more works by Gilbert and Sullivan, but it’s been decades since any of the English composer’s and librettist’s work has been performed in Macky. 

“There is a real legacy of Gilbert and Sullivan here at CU, but that has not been tapped into in a few years. We think this is the perfect opportunity to revisit that tradition,” says Holman, who recalls singing along to an 8-track recording of the original 1981 Tony Award-winning Broadway cast recording, starring Linda Ronstadt, Kevin Kline and Rex Smith.

Season tickets for all CU Presents programs are now on sale. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 18. Ticket buyers to “Kiss Me Kate” may call the CU Presents Box Office with any questions, 303-492-8008.

Photo: From CU Opera's 2006 production of 'The Pirates of Penzance.'  

Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24-25; 2 p.m. Oct. 26

WHERE: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus

TICKETS: $14 and up

INFO: www.cupresents.org or 303-492-8008

Voice, Opera, CU Presents