Date(s) - 03/09/2014
The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap year. His apprenticeship indentures state that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, and so he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.
Pirates was the fifth Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration and introduced the much-parodied “Major -General’s Song.” The opera was performed for a century by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain and many other opera companies and repertory companies worldwide.
It has received several modernised productions, including Joseph Papp’s 1981 production on Broadway, which ran for 787 performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and spawned many imitations. Pirates remains popular today, taking its place along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore as one of the most frequently played Gilbert & Sullivan operas.