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