“The Pirates of Penzance” will swashbuckle onto a University of New Mexico stage on Thursday, Feb. 28.
The UNM Opera Theatre will perform this Gilbert and Sullivan classic in Keller Hall at the UNM Center for the Arts with a cast of nearly 30 this weekend.
The comic opera covers love, duty and piracy with a happily-ever-after ending.
“It really is excellent for young singers,” director Sam Shepperson said. “The music and the story is very lyrical, so it’s nothing that’s heavy on the voice.”
On the windswept coast of Cornwall, a gang of pirates party and play as Frederic (a mere apprentice) reminds the Pirate King his obligation to the gang is soon over. Ruth (Frederic’s former nursemaid) explains that Frederic should never have been a pirate except for her mistake: She was told to apprentice Frederic to a pilot; she placed him with a pirate instead.
Frederic tells the pirates that, after he leaves the gang, he intends to destroy them, not because he doesn’t love them, but because he loathes what they do. Because Frederic has spent his entire life with the pirates, Ruth is the only woman he’s ever seen. He thinks he may want to take Ruth as his wife.
Soon he meets Mabel and falls instantly in love.
When he discovers his birthday lands on a leap year, Frederic reverses course and reveals the General has tricked the pirates. The furious Pirate King vows his revenge.
“It’s just a silly, silly opera,” Shepperson said. “It’s so funny; there’s nothing serious about it. Nobody dies. Everybody falls in love at the end.”