Author: Clay Evans

Eklund Opera Program to perform ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ Oct. 24-26

Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic light opera a perennial crowd favorite

The Eklund Opera program (formerly known as 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 a delightful piece and audiences just go crazy for it,” says Leigh Holman, director of the Eklund Opera Program. “It’s a comedy, the tunes are very accessible and hey — it’s pirates! There’s sword fighting, dancing pirates, hapless British Bobbies and lots of beautiful girls.”

This is the first time the piece has been performed in Macky Auditorium for nearly a quarter of a century.

The hero is the young buccaneer Frederic, raised on the high seas by the eponymous pirates. Now 21, he wants to escape that life, but due to a quirk of his birth he remains indentured. He’s known only one woman in his life and falls immediately in love when he sees Mabel, daughter of Major-General Stanley. But in order to marry her, he must find a way to defeat the swashbucklers — and friends — 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 are embracing the full tradition of this piece, but there are lots of fun little surprises. In a crazy comedy like this there is always room for little inventions and flourishes,” says Holman, who has adapted the work with Music Director Nicholas Carthy.

The College of Music hosted a summer musical festival for many years, including one or more works by Gilbert and Sullivan, but “Pirates” was last performed at Macky in 1990.

“There is a real legacy of Gilbert and Sullivan here at CU and 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.

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: or 303-492-8008

Upcoming Events View all events

It's a Wonderful Life

Nov 15-17, 2019

It's a Wonderful Life

An opera by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer
Full price: $15-$46

Based on the 1946 Frank Capra movie of the same name (by permission of Paramount Licensing Inc.) and “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Dor...

The Marriage of Figaro

Mar 13-15, 2020

The Marriage of Figaro

An opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Full price: $15-$46

When a lecherous count sets his sights on his servant Figaro's fiancée, Figaro and his friends seek retribution in the form of hilarious hijink...

Béatrice et Bénédict

Apr 23-26, 2020

Béatrice et Bénédict

An opera by Hector Berlioz
Full price: $20-$31

Marriage isn't for everyone, least of all verbal sparring partners Beatrice and Benedict. But if they can be convinced to set aside their differences,...