The official premiere of the musical took place in December 1879 in New York, and immediately won the audience’s hearts. In January 1880, this histrionics’ composer A. Sullivan wrote in a letter to his mother that more successful dialogues to his music than wrote W. S. Gilbert, would be impossible to imagine. He also mentioned that the musical certainly would attract a lot of spectators & would remain in their hearts. The prediction has come true soon, because Carte Opera Company made a tour that overcame all expectations.
After several successful productions in the US, the musical was staged in London in April 1880 with total of 363 performances. The Pirates of Penzance remains one of the most successful works of Sullivan & Gilbert.
Critics enthusiastically met both London and New York productions, noting that the caricature of Major-General as if was copied from the popular General of that time Garnet Wolseley. But biographer M. Ainger had a different opinion. He believed that the prototype of Major-General was general H. Turner – uncle of spouse of author of lyrics for this piece W. S. Gilbert. However, Gilbert himself did not like his uncle, calling him a general of the old school. In the London production, the actor playing the role of Major-General, to imitate G. Wolseley, copied the shape of his mustache. General Wolseley himself admitted to reporters that was not offended by the caricature, and in the circle of relatives often sang a merry song: ‘I am the very model of a modern Major-General…’
Release date: 1998
Last Update:May, 23rd 2016
Pirates of Penzance, The lyrics list
- Act 1
- Pour, O Pour the Pirate Sherry
- When Frederic Was a Little Lad
- Oh, Better Far to Live and Die
- Oh! False One, You Have Deceived Me
- Climbing over Rocky Mountains
- Stop, Ladies, Pray!
- Oh Is There Not One Maiden Breast?
- Poor Wandering One
- What Ought We to Do?
- How Beautifully Blue the Sky
- Stay, We Must Not Lose Our Senses
- Hold, Monsters!
- I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General
- Finale Act I
- Act 2
- Oh, Dry the Glistening Tear
- Now, Frederic, Let Your Escort Lion-Hearted When the Foeman Bares His Steel
- Now for the Pirates' Lair!
- When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold
- Away, Away! My Heart's on Fire
- All Is Prepared / Stay, Frederic, Stay!
- No, I'll be brave
- When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment
- A Rollicking Ban of Pirates We
- With Cat-Like Tread
- Hush, Hush! Not a Word / Sighing Softly to the River