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Pirates: The best-known and beloved by all!

The Pirates of Penzance is the best-known and best-loved of all Gilbert & Sullivan (at least to American audiences and performers alike). The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, in collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Department of Music and its Chamber Orchestra, plans to unleash Pirates’ rollicking band of inept pirates and bumbling policemen for the seventh time on the University’s Mandel Hall stage this March. Filled to the brim with songs, jokes, and visuals that promise to be familiar and accessible to those new to Gilbert & Sullivan, Pirates also holds a special place in the hearts of countless performers, as it represents the first exposure for many to the world of light opera.

The Company’s next production of Pirates will be particularly special to its directorial team, who bring a well-crafted and complete show honed over thirty years and fifteen separate productions—including the 1980s Broadway and National Tour productions, as well as productions designed from W.S. Gilbert’s original prompt books. This production promises to be an unforgettable event for performers and audience members of all experience levels—from Savoyard aficionados to light opera novices—and will be a true testament to the enduring power and beauty of Gilbert & Sullivan for generations to come.

please note

The University of Chicago calendar of events and Covid-19 requirements are in the process of further review. 

We will post updates as we receive them.

Rev. 2021-12-30

Meet Our Cast

Meet the Cast!

The cast for our planned 2022 production of Pirates features a mix of returning audience favorites as well as newcomers to the Company, featuring, as always, a talented and dynamic ensemble culled from a competitive and large pool of auditioners.

Discovering the new narratives in the traditional G&S canon.

O ver its 60 years, the Company has performed every work in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon. The Company has a policy of alternating the signature operas with the obscure, taking into consideration anniversary years and programming by other local companies. H.M.S. Pinafore has been performed eight times, The Mikado, The GondoliersIolanthe, and The Yeomen of the Guard have each been produced seven times. The Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore have each been produced six times. Princess Ida and Patience have been produced four times; The Sorcerer three times; Trial by Jury, twice; and Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke once each. In 2019 the Company took a temporary break from the traditional canon, presenting Merrie England by Edward German and Basil Hood, the designated successors to Gilbert and Sullivan.

Throughout its history, the Company’s goal has been to produce the best possible performances which are true to the traditional Gilbert and Sullivan style. The Company is very proud of its foundation as a strictly amateur organization. Our participants continue to be community residents as well as University students, faculty and staff, and a not inconsiderable number of professionals from outside the community, who apparently have found the Company’s ambiance worth a commuting relationship.

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