Winter Joy: The Savoyards in February

After the sensational success of H.M.S. Pinafore, many American performing companies presented unauthorized versions of that opera. Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte decided to prevent that from happening again by presenting official versions of their next opera, "The Pirates of Penzance", or "The Slave of Duty" simultaneously in the U.S. and the U.K. The opera premiered on December 31, 1879 at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York with Sullivan conducting, and one performance was given on the previous day at the Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, England, to secure the British copyright. Finally, Pirates opened on April 3, 1880, at the Opera Comique in London, where it ran for 363 performances, having already been playing successfully for over three months in NY.

On December 10, 1879, Sullivan wrote a letter to his mother about the new opera, upon which he was hard at work in New York. "I think it will be a great success, for it is exquisitely funny, and the music is strikingly tuneful and catching." True enough! The Pirates of Penzance was an immediate hit and takes its place today as one of the most popular and enduring works of musical theater.

Savoyards soloists and chorus members will celebrate the season with Gilbert & Sullivan numbers suited to Ground Hog Day, Valentine's Day, and a February 29th birthday. Your own sing-along part will presage the summer performance of Pirates of Penzance. Linger for refreshments and time to talk with Savoyards vocalists, other fans and Savoyards Board members.

Produced by Madison Savoyards, Ltd. at First Unitarian Society Atrium Auditorium, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison

Performances: February 4, 2005

Performance Times: Friday February 4th at 7:30 pm

Ticket Prices: $10.00 for those age 12 and up, and free for those under 12.

Call 608-231-9005 for reservations or more information.

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