Pirates of Penzance

bookshelves: published-1879, music, pirates-smugglers-wreckers, amusing, winter-20142015, victorian, film-only

Read from December 09 to 14, 2014

Description: On the coast of Cornwall, at the time of Queen Victoria’s reign, Frederic celebrates the completion of his twenty-first year and the end of his apprenticeship to a gentlemanly band of pirates (“Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry”). The pirates’ maid of all work, Ruth, appears and reveals that, as Frederic’s nursemaid long ago, she made a mistake “through being hard of hearing”: Mishearing Frederic’s father’s instructions, she apprenticed him to a pirate, instead of to a ship’s pilot (“When Frederic was a little lad”).

The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty
is a comic opera in two acts

The Pirates of Penzance – Wichita Grand Opera – COMPLETE

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

I’m very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I know our mythic history, King Arthur’s and Sir Caradoc’s;
I answer hard acrostics, I’ve a pretty taste for paradox,
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
I know the croaking chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I’ve heard the music’s din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you ev’ry detail of Caractacus’s uniform:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin”,
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a Javelin,
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by “commissariat”
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery
In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy
You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

Top Tracks for Gilbert and Sullivan

Daleks sing Gilbert & Sullivan

The irrepressible Eric Idle (Monty Pythons Flying Circus) teams up with the English National Opera in this hilarious performance of Gilbert and Sullivans beloved comic opera, THE MIKADO. This rollicking version of Gilbert and Sullivans most popular tale relocates the action from ancient Japan to a 1920s English seaside resort. Here the rule of the Mikado is absolute–and often prone to whimsy.

3* The Gondoliers
3* The Sorceror
4* Princess Ida
4* Iolanthe
5* HMS Pinafore
4* The Yeoman of the Guard
4* Patience
6* Mikado
2* Ruddigore
5* Pirates of Penzance

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