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The Pirates of Penzance (The Savoy Operas #4)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  661 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The Pirates of Penzance, premiered in 1879, confirmed the comic genius of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan, following on the heels of their wildly successful H.M.S. Pinafore. Pirates invade the rocky coast of Cornwall in this topsy-turvy tale of love and duty, highlighted by the famous strains of "Poor Wandering One," "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Ma ...more
Published by LibraVox (first published 1879)
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Diamond Cowboy
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a faboulasly popular play done by the genious of Gilbert and Sulavan in the year of 1879.
The pirates attack the shore of Cornwall in this rollicking little venture of love and duty.
This book is replete with complete score and a filmographyand discography. I would highly recommend you read it and go to see it preformed.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
If, by some unlikely mishap, you don't already know The Pirates of Penzance, then try and put that right! It's still one of the funniest things of its kind ever done. Fredric's kind but rather deaf nursemaid was told to apprentice him to a pilot, misheard, and indentured him to a pirate instead. Now Fredric is 21, or so he thinks, and stuns the gang by telling them he's leaving. But he falls in love with the beautiful Mabel, who also happens to be one of the adopted daughters of the redoubtable ...more
Singing skill is required for Gilbert and Sullivan. Alas, I am tone deaf. I so wanted to be one of the sisters. Or a pirate, that would have been fun, too.

There's no objectivity here. I love this script unreservedly. I love the stage productions I've seen, and the film with Kevin Kline. Love, love, love: "with cat like tread/upon our prey we steal/in silence dread/our cautious way we feel/no sound at all/we scarcely speak a word/a fly's footfall would be distinctly heard."

Production company scri
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, humor, british
Read as part of The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan on my Kindle as I watched (and listened) to it on video.

As I said on my review of H.M.S. Pinafore, I would never recommend reading these without watching or at least listening to the performance, as the songs are at the heart of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas. However, I often find it hard to tell what the words are so watching while having the text in front of me was a great help (especially in those cross-singing duets!).
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically sang the whole way through ^_^ Quite fun. I had the movie running through my head the whole time which is probably part of why it was so fun!
Greg Kerestan
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's no matching "The Pirates of Penzance" as far as Gilbert and Sullivan operettas or early musical theatre in general goes. Wacky, unpredictable, full of high art and low culture, poetry, slapstick and the absurd, it's a bit of farcical fluff that nonetheless resonates over a century after its premiere. Though the Joseph Papp revisal in the 1980s DID perform some necessary structural updates as far as the evolution of musical theatre as a craft, it's impossible to deny that the basic bones ...more
Newly Wardell
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is still really funny. A pilot vs. pirate mixup.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thou gildest e'en the pirate's trade.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-adore
What a wonderful play. Brilliant songs matched with witty and memorable lyrics. The characters are funny and true to life. Nothing is amiss in this tale of duplicity and scandal!
Jessica Barkl
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read and seen this play several times, but I re-read it and watched the movies again because I am thinking of producing this as the Summer Musical for Walla Walla in 2012. I really love this play and, I think, that the community will like it as well. I've been criticized the past three years I've been directing the summer musical for the genres I've been choosing. The community seems to want me to a classic. But, I can't do just any classic, and they've never done a Gilbert and Sullivan for ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is hilarity at its best. I'm quite a theater buff, to the extent wading in the vast waters of script-writing myself, so this was food for my theater-loving soul. I adore it. I wish I would have read this years ago.

There are moments as a true bookworm reads where a smile will creep onto his face almost unconsciously--he can do nothing to contain it. This little play brought those smiles to my face countless times. The characters, the dialogue, and the songs! Oh, the songs! Hilarious. The Pir
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, drama
just pure fun. listened to the LIBRIVOX collective presentation of this timeless item and am here to report that they have done a most worthy job!! well done, librivox.


second listen and just as much fun as the first time. well done, librivox. (monday 2 september 2013)
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've performed this twice, in 1993 and 2015. It's a lot like "H.M.S. Pinafore", but I think I prefer it because pirates. ;)

The plot is paper-thin and makes no sense, in true G&S fashion. It's probably not _the_ most amazing, musically, of their works, but it is fun to sing and the tunes are catchy.
Karen Heart
The very talented people at made a fantastic, full cast, audio version of this play. You can find it here.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Seen several productions of this. I've become, somewhat by accident, a bit of a G&S fan. My favourite show was probably a small cast jolly at the SJT in Scarborough.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been years since I've listened to this play or seen it on stage, but I do remember loving it. But, come on... PIRATES!
yes. I was in it.
Robert Stewart
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the lyrics are of the wittiest of the G&S oeuvre. But as with all G&S, I'm always left feeling there's something lacking.
Jun 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did this show TWICE opps three times. Twice with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company (one was a weekend review of all GS works) and the other was with my high school. Great show.
Doris Raines
I. Really. Do. Not. Understand. This. Book. Need. More. Detail's
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely hilarious. Also the music rocks.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Gotta love the ridiculousness that is The Pirates of Penzance
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
I finally got a script!
rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2015
Diane Stulock
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Apr 28, 2015
Laura Mantik
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Sep 24, 2016
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Feb 03, 2015
Lauren Romagnano
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Jul 05, 2016
A. Ch'arc
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Jul 27, 2009
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Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, of which the most famous include H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre, The Mikado. These, as well as most of their other ...more
More about W.S. Gilbert...

Other Books in the Series

The Savoy Operas (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Trial by Jury
  • The Sorcerer
  • H.M.S. Pinafore
  • Patience
  • Iolanthe
  • Princess Ida, or Castle Adamant (Vocal Score)
  • The Mikado
  • Ruddigore
  • Yeoman of the Guard
  • The Gondoliers
“Oh, dry the glistening tear that dues that marshal cheek
Thy loving childern here in them thy comfort seek
With sympathetic care their arms around the creep,
For oh they can not bear to see their father weep”
“We yield at once with humbled mien,
Because, with all our faults, we love our Queen.”
More quotes…