The Pirates of Penzance

Pirates Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
Atlanta Opera
through March 13, 2016

What a treat for our Opera and it’s fans. The Pirate gang playing at Cobb Energy Center has been such a huge success that they have already added an additional show.

Gilbert & Sullivan have been around for more than 100 years. They started around 1870 and wrote 14 comic operas, of which Pirates and Pinafore may be best known. Producer Richard D’Oyly Carte brought them together and staged their works many times at London’s Savoy Theatre. The names became etched into the history of G&S. Some years back, we actually had a group here who named themselves The Savoyards, and they performed in several venues around town, later becoming Atlanta Lyric Theatre, now in Cobb County and still going and growing strong.

You probably know the story. Young Frederic (Matthew Newlin) is apprenticed to a pirate when his nanny, Ruth (Victoria Livengood), misheard her instructions to apprentice him to a pilot. Frederic is a nice guy and not very piratical at all. And the pirates themselves are a bunch of wimps. There are scenes where they deal with having grown up as orphans, where they become enamored of a bunch of lasses who are the wards of the Trump-ish Major-General (Curt Olds), and the problem with Frederic having been born on the 29th of February. But, even if you don’t know all the story ahead of time, it all comes easily to you. There are super-titles even though the production is sung in English.

Kevin Burdette sings the Pirate King, and he is really quite good at all the silly schticks, and Burt Olds is a perfect model of a modern Major-General. Frederic falls in love with Mabel (Maureen McKay) and they plan to wed. Oops. There’s a little glitch they find out about in Act II. Ms. McKay has a lovely voice, especially in the solfège parts. And you’ll enjoy Kyle Albertson as the head copper. He finds out that a constable’s life is not always a happy one.

Seán Curran has returned to Atlanta direct this opus. He enhances the story line and the music and lyrics with some neat choreography, which is his specialty. And the full orchestra in the pit is conducted by David Agler, who has done operas around the world, including the wonderful Australian Opera company which is fantastic when it comes to opera comique.

They are playing to a pretty full house. Plenty of parking at a reasonable rate (compared to trying to park near the Fox) and more info and tickets available online at