Talk:The Pirates of Penzance

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GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:The Pirates of Penzance/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: TonyTheTiger (talk · contribs) 08:30, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

I will review this. It seems to be quite substantial and likely to pass. Since you have waited over three months for a review, I hope you will be able to put up with my tedious and slow review.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 08:30, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Please address the following toolbox issues:
  • Add (often referred to simply as The Pirates of Penzance), (commonly known as The Pirates of Penzance) or (more commonly known as The Pirates of Penzance).--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:33, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Is this really necessary? Subtitles are generally dropped. While Wikipedia does tend to note changes where words are dropped from the start of a title (Moll Flanders, On the Origin of Species) I can find few to no examples where cutting words from the end is explicitly marked, and many where it isn't The Pilgrim's Progress, Vanity Fair (novel), Candide. Only example I found where it was marked was The Hobbit. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:50, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I am a bit out of my expertise reviewing this. I often name a bunch of alternate names in articles I write, but I can see this going either way. Most of your examples are not GA/FA articles. The first three examples at FA in this category are The Author's Farce, Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards and Candide. I guess I'll acquiesce on this one.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 08:11, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Adam Cuerden. It's not necessary, as there is no confusion; indeed, the article is so named. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:17, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
The Pirates of Penzance
  • " failed in their efforts over the next decade to control the American performance copyrights over their operas" add ", including The Pirates of Penzance".--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:52, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Done. -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:34, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
I just added the date in the previous section - same year, 1878. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:17, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Production and aftermath
User:Adam Cuerden, would you please check Bradley and Ainger on this point? -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:02, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the citation is there. Ainger, pp. 181–82 and another citation; both follow the next sentence. -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:34, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't review musicals that often. Is it standard to put all the numbers in parenthesis like this?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 06:16, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Pretty much. It lets people link the plot with the music a bit more easily. That said, there are some bits where the synopsis works against this convention by saying things slightly out of order; [Notably, "When you had left our pirate fold" - the description before this number is mentioned include the revelations made in the dialogue just after it.] I'll make some tweaks tomorrow. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:42, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the G&S operas follow the Opera project guidelines for article structure, NOT the musicals project guidelines. But in both cases, yes, the song titles go in parens. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:17, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Adam. Ian Bradley's The Complete Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan contains the standard text for G&S operas. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:17, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Musical numbers
  • Here long form names are presented that were shortened in various places above. This seems unusual. Even within this section, at the top short names are used and in the full list long names are used.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 06:16, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
    • In opera conventions, songs are named after their opening lyrics. However, there's no firmly-fixed rule as to how much to quote of the lyric, leading to some oddities. I'll go through and extend as needed, but it's not particularly unusual to see a shorter name when you're mentioning something off-hand, and a longer one in a list like this. Of these,"All is prepared" is probably the most dangerous short form - it's unambiguous in the context of Pirates, but, in Gilbert and Sullivan as a whole, might well be mistaken for "All is prepared for sealing and for signing" - a non-recitative number from The Sorcerer. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:42, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
The musical numbers are listed in the standard scores and libretti and should be so listed in the list of musical numbers. I agree with Adam that these can be checked against Bradley. As Adam says, you can refer to a shortened version in the discussion above, unless there is ambiguity. I am sure that there is no ambiguity at all about "All is prepared." This is an article about Pirates, and we don't need to distinguish a song title from The Sorcerer, which is a far less well-known opera. Tony, which ones in particular concerned you? By the way, I appreciate your careful comments, as this is the time to get it right. In fact, I would have gone to peer review before GA, but, IMO, Adam jumped the gun, so here we are. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:23, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Eh, well. My mistake is fixable, and I'll set to work. The problem with not having done much article work in a few years is that you need to do something to get back in. Adam Cuerden (talk) 15:55, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Critical reception
  • The quote in the second paragraph is so long that it must be indented. (the one in the first paragraph pretty long too).--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 08:03, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Done. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:01, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Patter, counterpoint, and vocal writing
Hmm. I think the first reference to Shaw should be "Bernard Shaw" and the second, simply "Shaw", but I'm not certain. Contributor User:Tim riley has, in the past, expressed strong feelings on how to refer to Shaw - apparently the British never use "George". I have asked Tim to stop by and fix. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:05, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Quite so. See the title of the books listed as sources: "The Complete Music Criticism of Bernard Shaw". Shaw liked and used the initials GBS, but loathed the name George, and called himself simply "Bernard Shaw". I've made the necessary amendments. Tim riley (talk) 15:17, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Done. -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:34, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
I've made a clarification. There was a single performance in Paignton, solely for the purpose of securing the British copyright, that is not worth mentioning in the LEAD. The two major original productions were in New York and then London. I think if you read it again, this should now be clear. -- Ssilvers (talk) 00:03, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Production history
  • As a non-expert trying to understand which Broadway, West End, Off-Broadway and Off-West End production have occurred, I am at a loss. The next section does not help either.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 22:42, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Remember that The Pirates of Penzance is British, and the British tradition is somewhat more performance. Also, Gilbert and Sullivan productions were dominated by the opera company created by D'Oyly Carte, Gilbert, and Sullivan primarily for said purpose, so that company's productions are going to dominate. We could be clearer, but, long story short, Broadway and West End are far less important here. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:54, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
The reason is because, in 1879, people did not refer to Broadway and the West End the way we do today. The Theatre District was still in the process of moving to where it is now in NY. However, the premieres in NY's Fifth Avenue Theatre and London's Opera Comique (and revivals at the Savoy Theatre) were all at major theatres that you would certainly consider Broadway and West End theatres. I've made a few tweaks to clarify. We cite Hischak for the proposition there have been over 40 "major" revivals in NY, and the IBDB (which is incomplete) shows 26 productions on Broadway alone. Some Off-Broadway producers, such as the American Savoyards and The Light Opera of Manhattan produced Pirates every year over a period of decades, and NYGASP still produces it Off-Broadway every few years. The number of regional theatre productions in the US during the 20th century is in the hundreds, and, as noted in the article, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company played the opera continuously in repertory (sometimes with more than one company touring at the same time) for a century. There have been numerous professional productions in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany and elsewhere, a few of which are mentioned in the article. There have been thousands of amateur productions worldwide: at one point, there were more than 200 amateur G&S companies in each of the US and UK, all doing Pirates about once every four or five years, plus school productions too numerous to count. Since the 1960s, the number of amateur productions has gradually declined, but I'd estimate that Pirates is still produced at least several dozen times per year worldwide. We don't need to go into gruesome detail about all this, but as I've said to Adam, I think this section should be expanded a bit with more research, if he wishes to undertake it, focusing on major professional productions worldwide. One of the paragraphs needs at least one more cite, as I've marked. -- Ssilvers (talk) 00:25, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Why aren't the 26 broadway productions listed in the Production history/Historical casting sections? Why stop at 15 productions? Are they more major than the broadway productions?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:11, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Good question - this is an important point to understand: As I said above, we should expand the Production History section to give some more color on some of the major productions. That is a research project that I am not in any position to do now. Bradley's 2005 book is a starting point for some of the more recent productions, but for other productions, research can be done if Adam wants to undertake it. For GA purposes, our discussion in the Production history section is probably adequate (but see below). The lists in the "historical casting" section are not lists of productions. They represent a cross-section of the most important casts mounted by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which toured the opera (and played it in NY, London and other major cities), continuously for more than a century -- tens of thousands of performances. If you look at the talk-page discussions, peer review discussions and FAC discussions for H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial by Jury, there were discussions about this section when we brought those articles to FAC. As for the IBDB list of 26 Broadway productions, the fact that someone rented a Broadway theatre and presented a brief revival of Pirates does not make it a more important production than, say, the City Opera productions, or the NYGASP productions that have been regularly mounted it at City Center and, before that, at Symphony Space, and have toured every year for the past 40 years, or the productions by other professional repertory companies and opera companies. So a list of those 26 productions is not important (although *some* of them might be worth discussing in the article) - what is important is that the opera has been mounted repeatedly by professional opera companies and in major theatres on Broadway, in the West End and elsewhere within and outside of the English-speaking world, which I think we already say. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I would certainly like to see a Historical casting table layout of Joseph Papp's Pirates and a select few other productions. I imagine of the other 26, some of them were Tony nominated. Similarly, there were probably a few Olivier nominated productions. Is this something reasonable?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 16:24, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
No, no other productions were Tony or Olivier-nominated at all (you can see this on the IBDB and Oliver websites), except that in 1953 the conductor of a 1952 production, Lehman Engel, got a Tony. The production was non-notable, running for only 8 performances in repertory with several other G&S shows. They were staged as part of a tour featuring Martyn Green after he left the D'Oyly Carte Company. Kind of like if you went to the theatre to see Robert Preston in a one-week limited run of Victor/Victoria, with a cast thrown together to back him. I have now added a sentence about that production, noting that Engel got the Tony. A conducting Tony for a one-week run is pretty silly, though. I don't think it would be eligible for a Tony award nowadays. As for Papp, we do already list the full cast and notable replacements. A table would give undue emphasis to this one production, which already has too much ink. An idea would be to spin off the Papp section as a separate article (then you could add a roles/cast table) and shorten it here, but I've always felt that that is a make-work project with no real value, because anyone interested in Papp's Pirates would be interested in Pirates generally, and the spun-off article would inevitably suffer from neglect as compared with the main article. For a stark example of this, see the horrible article on the film: The Pirates of Penzance (1983 film). -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:56, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

[left]One last thing to check before I let this one go. I don't know what constitutes a notable run. How many of the 26 broadway productions lasted for 100 or more performances? Off-Broadway? West End?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 00:09, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Only three: (1) The original NY production, (2) the Papp production, (3) the 1926 production, produced and directed by Winthrop Ames (128 performances), which was one of three well-received G&S productions that he mounted in the 1920s. See Hurley, G. M. "Gilbert and Sullivan – and Winthrop Ames", The New Yorker, 6 June 1931, p. 70 - I'll add this info. to the Production history section. All the others were very brief (typical of opera productions), played in repertory with other G&S shows for a short season or part of a tour. I threw in mentions of American Savoyards, Light Opera of Manhattan and NYGASP, but this is all about NY. I hope that Adam is willing to dig up the refs. for other major US and worldwide performances (some of the more recent ones are discussed in Bradley's 2005 book). I understand that he is working on a show that is opening on Monday, so he probably needs a couple of weeks to get to it. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:18, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
O.K. So here is an area where I want to push, but don't want to drag this article into an unconventional area. I would like to see full documentation of performances that lasted for at least 100 performances. Can we add those on to the two table systems in the article or make separate tables for them as well as document them in the prose? Would this establish a wrong precedent. I know we don't see this at Featured article Hamlet or even Hamlet in performance, but shouldn't we?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 16:00, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
All three NY productions with 100+ performances are now discussed in the right proportion, I think, with proper references. Not sure what you mean by "full" documentation. Tables would not be helpful (IMO) and, as I noted before, would give undue emphasis and an improper focus on New York, which is already over-represented in this article. Compare the productions sections of the FA articles on H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial by Jury. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:10, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Well does this mean that there are non-NY productions of 100+ performances not discussed. If so, I'd be interested in London performances with 100+ performances not discussed. I continue to try to represent the readers who are as lazy as me and hope for tables of the 100+ performances like the two tables that are already in the article. Is there a reason not to produce information in that format?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 22:23, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
I believe that all of the professional productions that ran continuously for 100 performances are already mentioned in the article (unless there was one outside of the English-speaking world). Note that D'Oyly Carte played Pirates every year from 1893 to 1982 and did it usually once a week in repertory with other G&S shows, but sometimes twice a week or in more than one touring company (that's about 10,000 performances over those years). However, there have been various productions by major opera companies, regional theatre companies, foreign theatre companies and repertory companies that should be mentioned at least briefly before the article is nominated for FA (some of these are mentioned in Bradley 2005). But as I said a couple of times already, I don't have the time to research those right now, and since Adam has nominated this article now, I think it is up to him to do the research if we want to get this in before promotion to GA. I do not think it is necessary at the GA level, though. As I also said, he is working on a show that is starting tomorrow, so he may be out of pocket for a week or two. -- Ssilvers (talk) 17:45, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Joseph Papp's Pirates
Awards section
  • After reading the section above, I am now looking for an awards section to understand which productions were critically acclaimed. There is no such section. This article can not pass without some sort of summary or its awards for revivals. You would think that might be a subsection in the Critical reception section.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 22:52, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
There were no theatre awards in 1879, when the original productions opened. Indeed, theatre awards have not existed for most of the production history of Pirates, and for many of them, only original productions are eligible. We mention the most important Tony and Drama Desk awards won by the Papp production here is a complete list of Broadway awards for the Papp production. There was a 1953 Tony for the conductor of a B'way production, but YAWN!! Over the years, productions all over the world have won various awards, but hunting them down is a waste of time. There should certainly not be a separate awards section. However, the Critical reception section, or the Productions section could be expanded with some critical comment on the most important 20th and 21st century productions. Remember, Tony, that in Britain, Canada, and South Africa, the EXCLUSIVE producer of G&S for a century was the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, and in NZ and Australia it was J.C. Williamson. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:21, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I don't know about tracking down every award. However, I would like a complete listing of Tony Awards. Common readers surely would be looking for that. You should probably accompany that enumeration with an explanation why the earliest of these is so far after the original. I would also like to know if any production have every won or been nominated for any Oliviers. I would appreciate listings further down the hierarchy of awards, but understand it may be a bit much. How about complete Tonys and Oliviers and a proper explanation. I am sitting here wondering if any best actor or what nots have been awarded to any productions. Also please note if any movie adaptations have been critically acclaimed by major awards.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 01:35, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
The Papp production was nominated for two Oliviers in London but did not win any. No other Oliviers. This is an article about a 135 year-old opera, not an article about a musical. The awards you are talking about are for a relatively recent production, and the fact that you are focusing on them shows exactly why a long list should NOT be here: it would distract from what's really important about this work. Look at how Awards are handled for Hamlet - lots of actors and productions of Hamlet have won awards. Just to compromise, I will add mentions of the actual acting and directing awards won for the Papp production. An explanation about why there were not theatre awards for works created before 1945 is not included in any article for older works. It's like explaining why the Model A did not have air bags. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:47, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
How about for the productions that have templates at the bottom of this article, you expand on any other awards won. If it won best play, mention how many wins and nominations it had and major acting/directing awards? Those appear to me to be notable enough productions to merit explanation of their critical acclaim.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:16, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Hi, Tony. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "templates". All "best play"-type awards are already mentioned. Again, when this show premiered, there were no theatre awards. The Critical reception section is the section that should describe the critical acclaim for the opera. You will not find any "best play" type awards for other operas, no matter how famous, by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, etc. It's just irrelevant to the genre, even though light operas are sometimes played in houses that usually run modern musicals. Here is a telling point: If you read the standard reference books on G&S and Pirates (listed at the bottom of the article), they do not mention theatre awards. At all. The only one that makes even a passing reference to awards is Bradley's 2005 book, which is specifically about modern productions, and in the whole book, he gives less ink and importance to awards than we already do in this article. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:32, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Major-General's Song
We do, in the Musical analysis section. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Film and television
Other references
84 years divided by 4 = 21. So, in 1940, the NY Times is congratulating Fredric on his 21st birthday. Is that what you were asking? If not, please read the Act II plot summary and clarify your question. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh yeah It only needs to be 63 years after the the earlier 21st birthday.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:22, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Good thought. I killed the second one, but I really think we need an illustration for the Papp version, and there aren't any free images of that, AFAIK. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:37, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
I added punctuation to the second one, but the first one has an exclamation point. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:37, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

I am putting this on Hold. There seems to be active interest in addressing the concerns, so I am quite certain that we can get everything resolved within 7 days.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 23:26, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your questions and comments, Tony. I leave the referencing to AC, since he nominated this article for GA review. Generally, I think the article needs a little expansion in the Original Production section (although that could be left for post-GA). Andrew Crowther's new book might be able to add detail here, as well as Stedman and Ainger. In the Genesis section, we should be very precise about what is known, and what is not known, about Sullivan leaving materials behind. It would be very good if we could get Marc Shepherd's input on this. The productions section (as discussed above) and critical reception sections could be filled out more, but again, they are probably adequate for GA. Also, compare the "Analysis" section in Pinafore for some ideas about textual and musical analysis. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:37, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
As you know I am just helping out in this area with little expertise. I will wait until you think it is satisfactory to pass this.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:02, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Sure. A lot of my general comments in the paragraph above are things that need to be done before any FA nomination. I think your comments will get us to the GA level, if Adam is willing to work on the missing refs and slightly expand the productions section and critical reception sections. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:43, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
P.S. keep fighting me if I am dragging the article in a wrong direction.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:23, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
LOL! I think you know me well enough to guarantee that I will!  :p Seriously, though, it will help you to read the FAC discussions and talk page discussions for H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), which is an FA article about the Gilbert and Sullivan opera that is very similar to Pirates (1879) historically and structurally. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:34, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

This article has not been edited since October 29 and I don't believe any edits that address my concerns have been made since the 26th. What is going on here?--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 03:40, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Adam, where are you? -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:39, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, Sorcerer leads rather hard into Concert season this year. Still, Hush Thee My Babie is awesome, as is The Long Day Closes. Should have time by Tuesday; for now, back to sleep. Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:17, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I thought you meant Tuesday the 12th, but in case you meant the 19th, I will wait until then to fail the article.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 18:43, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
I did some more work today, but we need Adam to fill in some refs. Adam? -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:34, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Adam has not edited the article since October 22. I am tempted to fail this now.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 23:44, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I apologize, but despite the progress made, it seems that there is more to do to address my concerns. After almost 5 weeks with no response, from the nominator, I am FAILing this one.--TonyTheTiger (T / C / WP:FOUR / WP:CHICAGO / WP:WAWARD) 05:52, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No apology necessary; you have been more than patient. Adam nominated and then abandoned this article as he has done with other articles in the past. Is there any way that one can withdraw nominations that are made prematurely by other editors? -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:10, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Unfortunately, when the nomination finally went through, it was at the worst possible month for me to be able to do anything: Between an opera, a major concert, and my father's visit, Wikipedia was the last thing I could concentrate on. I'll see about renominating when things clear up in the new year. Unfortunately, with the very, very long delay time on GAs, there's no way to guarantee anything. Adam Cuerden (talk) 12:39, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Adam Cuerden: For heaven's sake PLEASE do NOT renominate this or any other G&S articles until AFTER you have done the work to bring the article up to the required standard and given Tim and me (and others) a chance to peer review. Thanks. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:01, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh, just shut up, please. You've so far managed to belittle me excessively for having done the horrible crime of not being free three months after I knew I had a relative free period for a while. Just drop it, I do not wish to have any more disparagement of my character being thrown around willy-nilly; I'd rather we end this before words are said that I will likely regret. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:55, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Original comments[edit]

FYI, Gilbert and Sullivan themselves referred to their works as "comic operas" or "operas," never as "operettas." I have therefore restored that phrase. Marc Shepherd 04:32, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

For a change, that plot summary is original, though I had to look up the song names. :) Thus, no attribution appears. -- April

Popeye theme[edit]

I removed the following because I can't see a resemblance. Let's see a citation, please before putting it back.

  • The chorus for Oh! better far to live and die begins "For I am a Pirate King (hoorah for the Pirate King)", which was adapted some decades later as the start of the "Popeye" cartoon theme song.

-- Derek Ross | Talk 05:37, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

And I put it back with a little explanation as to specifics. I don't recall now which author put me on to that fact, but it is true if you bother actually listening to it. Wahkeenah 05:50, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

OK, so it's different by two notes. Try this on your piano:

For I am a Pirate King
G-sharp A B B B A G-sharp E
Hoorah for the Pirate King
B C-sharp A C-sharp E C-sharp B
I'm Popeye the sailor man
G-sharp B B B A G-sharp B
I'm Popeye the sailor man
B C-sharp A C-sharp E C-sharp B

Well, the words for Pirate King are actually

For I am a Pirate King,
He is! Hoorah for the Pirate King

so you're missing another two notes from Pirate King but it's not just a question of the pitch. The rhythmic structure is quite different. As far as I remember without benefit of sheet music it's

Pirate King
(2) 2, 1 3, 1 1 1 1, 4
(2) 1 1, 1 1 1 1, 3 1, 4
2 1 1, 1 3, 1 3
2 1 1, 1 3, 1 3

The (2)s at the beginning of the Pirate King lines stand for the rest at the beginning of each line. But be that as it may, they are pretty different whether you listen to them or just sing them. -- Derek Ross | Talk 15:30, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Next thing you'll be telling me that "My Sweet Lord" is not at all like "He's So Fine". Wahkeenah 16:32, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
And that "Polovtsian Dances" is totally unrelated to "Kismet", <grin>. I agree with you about "My Sweet Lord" being like "He's So Fine". -- Derek Ross | Talk 19:44, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

When I hear "My Sweet Lord", I keep expecting a girl-chorus background to interpose "Doo-lang, doo-lang" after each line. The similarity of these bits of G&S vs. Popeye do not necessarily jump out at you, the way "Come, friends, who plough the sea" is very obviously the inspiration for "Hail, hail, the gang's all here". But when I read (I forget where) a comment some years ago that compared the two, it became apparent that there was some connection. Maybe there could be something on the Plagiarism page about intentional or unintentional ripoffs of classics. One good example is the triad performed repetitively in the middle of Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody" (1851), which is identical to the "Fi-ga-ro" triad performed repetitively in the middle of Rossini's "Largo al Factotum" (1816), a fact which was verbally acknowledged by Bugs Bunny in Rhapsody Rabbit. Then there is the similarity between the beginning of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and the beginning of Cole Porter's "Night and Day", a fact acknowledged by Victor Borge when he would start playing the one and segue seamlessly into the other one. Wahkeenah 23:06, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I see the that the Popeye theme and Oh! better far to live and die differ by only 2 notes (out of 7), but the timing is significantly different. And more important, I can find no evidence for the assertion that Sammy Lerner adapted the Sullivan tune when he wrote the Popeye theme. –Shoaler (talk) 18:43, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Sullivan himself was once accused of similar borrowing, I believe from Mozart, and he supposedly replied, "Well, we both had only the same seven notes to choose from." Although I don't care passionately either way, I lean toward the view that the Pirate King–Popeye connection is rather tenuous. Marc Shepherd
What if we say something like, "some people speculate that...."? Personally, I think the connection is pretty obvious. Ssilvers 19:21, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
When it is so speculative, it's hard to justify its inclusion. Original research, anyone ? -- Derek Ross | Talk 19:37, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
In addition, there's a Wikipedia style guideline that strongly urges against the vague attribution in phrases like "some people speculate that...." Whose speculation was it? Marc Shepherd 21:23, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Editors have disputed whether the "Popeye" theme was inspired by "I am the pirate king." Everyone agrees that it is not the identical tune. The question is whether it is so close that the similarity had to be intentional; on this there is no agreement. However, Wikipedia is not the place for speculation. If there is not a citable source, I suggest that the comment be removed from the article. Marc Shepherd 16:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Where Does The Story Take Place[edit]

Act I takes place in a small bay on the sea coast in Cornwall, presumably close to Penzance. Act II takes place at the graveyard of a ruined chapel in the grounds of MG Stanley's home, which must also be fairly close to Penzance. -- Derek Ross | Talk 22:08, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Papp's Pirates and NPOV[edit]

A recent editor wrote (his contributions underlined):

Compared to traditional productions of the opera, Papp's Pirates featured a more swashbuckling Pirate King and Frederic, and a broader, more musical comedy style of humor, emphasizing the antics of the performers over the intrinsic humor of the libretto.

Though perhaps arguably true in one observer's opinion, this comment does not present a neutral point of view and is not verifiable. If you wish to re-introduce the comment, please do so in a manner that preserves NPOV and verifiability. Marc Shepherd 16:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, different productions vary, depending on the director and other factors. A director of a "traditional" style Pirates production might permit lots of "antics" and liberties by the actors, while a director of a Papp-style production might have a more restrictive idea of the relationship between the book and the actors' liberties. Ssilvers 18:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Amateur productions[edit]

An explanation for the editor who insert info on a particular production. Pirates has been produced thousands and thousands of times around the world. Other than the Papp production, it would be hard to imagine that any one production would be notable enough to add to this article. One would have to create an adaptation that caught on for a very significant number of new productions, or that was shown on Broadway or the West End, or made into a major film, to really warrant a description here. Hope this helps. Ssilvers 05:21, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. A production needs to be notable (in the Wikipedia sense of the word) before being described in this article. Probably the only amateur production worth mentioning would be the first one ever staged, if that. -- Derek Ross | Talk 05:39, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Ditto; agree. Marc Shepherd 17:22, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Although I still feel sorry for my buddy Noah- we didn't have enough girls, so he had to play Ruth.-Ardasquin

Not that unusual. In the 1970s I went to an all-boys school which put on a G&S show every two years. All the female roles were played by twelve/thirteen year-old boys whose voice hadn't broken yet. So my first appearance in a G&S show was as one of the Major-general's daughters. Nowadays the school is co-ed so if they're still doing G&S I assume that they now have girls playing the female roles. -- Derek Ross | Talk 17:43, 25 January 2012 (UTC)


Can someone who knows the terminology better fix up my footnote on the policeman's chant? Adam Cuerden 12:00, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes in list of musical numbers[edit]

I have removed all footnotes from the list of musical numbers. To take them one by one:

  • "Climbing over rocky mountain" – the fact that this song originated in Thespis is already stated elsewhere in the article.
  • "Pray observe the magnanimity" – there are lots of reprises in G&S. This is a list of musical numbers, not a discussion of musical structure.
  • "Sergeant, approach!" – Again, this is a list of musical numbers, not a discussion of musical structure.
  • "Act II finale" – Much of this was incorrect. The original ending was "At length we are provided with unusual felicity," not ability. This was sung by Ruth, not the Girls. (The verse was divided up, with Ruth, King, Mabel, and Sergeant each getting two lines.) It did not lead into "Poor wand'ring ones," although that's what Papp did. As G&S wrote it, this section ended the opera.
  • "You/We triumph now" – easily accommodated in the main list; no footnote needed.

The page WikiProject Gilbert and Sullivan/Opera articles gives our proposed structure for the opera articles. A discussion of the musical structure should reside in a section called "Musical elements."

A discussion of alternative/deleted versions should reside in a section called "Versions." The Pirates article already has such a section, although it is incomplete. I would suggest we revise it, rather than continuing to complicate the list of musical numbers. Marc Shepherd 13:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Addendum: Some of the information in the footnotes was useful, and should be added elsewhere in the article. For instance, I didn't realize that "Sergeant, approach" is a reference to the canticle and response from the Anglican church service. (I am not an Anglican, and wouldn't know.) But the G&S works abound in such references. I believe Mabel's cadenza on "Yes, 'tis Mabel" is a direct quote from the Kreutzer sonata of Beethoven. Once you start using the List of Musical Numbers to footnote cultural references, where does it stop? Marc Shepherd 14:46, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Why don't you restore the notable material that you cut under appropriate headings so that we can edit it? --Ssilvers 15:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I didn't see anything worth restoring. Anyone else, feel free to give it a shot. I myself will expand the Versions section when I get a chance (if no one else gets to it first), but what was stated in the footnote—besides being misplaced–was incorrect. Had it been accurate, I would have moved it rather than deleting it. Marc Shepherd 16:22, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

OK. It sounds like the "sergeant approach" info needs to go into some kind of "Analysis" section rather than a version section? --Ssilvers 17:15, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

It definitely doesn't go in "Versions," as it's not anything that changed from one version to another.
Some of the G&S opera articles make comments on cultural references in the Background sections, without breaking it into a separate "Analysis" section. I think that's okay. At some point, when there's enough of it, a separate section becomes appropriate.
But Pirates happens to have quite a bit of quoting and paying homage to other pieces of music. I think that if we mention one example in isolation, it takes on the feel of a "factoid." The work Arthur Sullivan#Musical Quotations is a great example. It reads in an encyclopedic fashion, rather than just being a random collection of facts. Marc Shepherd 18:20, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

It should be pointed out that the "Sergeant, approach" number is a little more awkward than most: It's not in the vocal score, but is a partially chanted dialogue with minor orchestral accompaniment. It's not a simple "musical number". The rest... point taken. Adam Cuerden 20:05, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Have added a (currently hidden) footnote to that effect. Fix it up and make it visible if you like it. Adam Cuerden 23:24, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I have moved the relevant information into the main text and added some context. I would suggest that this is the way such information should be handled in the future, not as footnotes embedded in the list of roles or the list of musical numbers. (A separate section on musical elements would also be appropriate if there is more to say, but as it's just one paragraph, I embedded it in the Background section.) Furthermore, the statement (in the original footnote) that the E naturals are played in the orchestra was incorrect. This passage is unaccompanied. Marc Shepherd 15:45, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Odd. Could have sworn the score had a piano part. Adam Cuerden 16:55, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what Marc means -- in the P/V score the E's are certainly played. But the note reads nicely now, so who cares. --Ssilvers 17:46, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
If you listen to a recording, you'll find that the orchestra isn't playing. I suspect it's in the P/V as a rehearsal aid. Marc Shepherd 18:02, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Or just a traditional cut-of-accompaniment. I mean, having the orchestra play under the chanting is a rather awkward idea if you can find some other way to keep the police in tune. Adam Cuerden 20:54, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I've just checked. The orchestration has no accompaniment. The Chappell vocal score cues the first E-natural in the piano, which I'm sure was put there only for rehearsal purposes. It could also be useful in a production with weak singers, but that's not how Sullivan intended it to be heard. Marc Shepherd 01:22, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Why does this article make absolutely no mention of the work "Queen Victoria March," also known as "To Queen Victoria's Name We Bow" being included in the original work?

See here and scroll down, or even listen to it:

It is not include in the "original" work, although it was included in the single (on book) copyright performance in Paignton. There is a lot in the Paignton draft that is not included in the others and was never performed again. -- Ssilvers 05:09, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Important Omission[edit]

This is the original research by Kevin Wachs on the subject - it MUST be added to the article, I think

I seriously considered this. I didn't include Wachs's research for the same reason I didn't include my own. Although both are available on websites, both fall into the category of "new research" that doesn't yet have broad acceptance in the G&S community. To present Wachs's view, my view, and the Tillet/Spencer view would take the article far afield from its core subject matter. There is one paragraph addressing all of this (the 3rd paragraph under "background." This, I think, is about as far as the article should go. Marc Shepherd 14:08, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good. There is nothing wrong with adding the "External link" to each article, however, for anyone who wishes to do further reading. Instead of saying "Kevin Wachs article", however, perhaps it should say "2005 article from GASBAG entitled ...."? -- Ssilvers 18:00, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Origin of the phrase "copyright piracy"[edit]

The article now states: "American companies quickly mounted unauthorized "pirated" productions..." as if the word piracy was already in use for copyright infringement and in 1880.

  • When did the word gain this secondary meaning?
  • Did The Pirates of Penzance have any effect in the adoption of this meaning?

-- Petri Krohn 18:56, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, references to the "pirating" of stage works was already in use. -- Ssilvers 01:42, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

The OED dates the sense "A person or company who reproduces or uses the work of another (as a book, recording, computer program, etc.) without authority and esp. in contravention of patent or copyright; a plagiarist. Also: a thing reproduced or used in this way." from 1603. OK, it doesn't specifically mention a stage-work, but I think it would include it. --ColinFine (talk) 22:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Our own article on Thomas Arne quotes him asking people not to "give any Encouragement to pirated copies, written or printed", in 1741 or thereabouts, and he is definitely talking about his own operas, songs and other works. -- Derek Ross | Talk 21:41, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Frederic's age when he reaches his 21st birthday[edit]

The play is set in Queen Victoria's time, so if Frederic lives to his eighties, his lifespan will include 1900 which was not a leap year, so he won't have a birthday for the eight years between 1896 and 1904. Therefore he won't have his 21st birthday until he is 88 years old. Jess Cully 23:53, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe so, although it is not clear whether Gilbert forgot that, and it is likewise not clear in precisely what year the action of the show is meant to be set. In any case, it is a very technical point and detracts from a first-time reader's understanding of the plot, so I fudged the issue by writing "in his eighties". Let a reader understand the plot before becoming embroiled in the controversy over exactly when Fredric was born and whether Gilbert meant for him to be 84 or 88 on his 21st birthday. In fact, the important issue for the plot summary is that he is not yet 21 and must rejoin the pirates. The fact that the year when he will turn 21 is named was just to get a laugh. -- Ssilvers 01:40, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

"Errors in the Script"[edit]

An anonymous editor added a section called "Errors in the script". I have modified it somewhat to take out some inaccuracies and called it "Anomalies" in the script. Is it worth keeping? I am not sure that it adds to the reader's understanding of the opera. -- Ssilvers 05:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I've moved it here: It could be good eventually, but it needs a more substantial depth of coverage (e.g. "Swollen by the summer rain" as an unrewritten Thespis line) before it's quite ready. Let's fix it up here, then move it back. Adam Cuerden talk 06:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

The section is silly. We could add a similar section to The Mikado explaining that in fact there was no Chancellor of the Exchequer in 19th-century Japan; or one to H.M.S. Pinafore explaining that Ralph Rackstraw is clearly old enough to be Josephine's father; none of this would be adding value to the encyclopedia. --Quuxplusone 04:35, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Let's leave it out. -- Ssilvers 05:22, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Good points. I do think we could do a bit more with textual analysis of the operas, but this isn't how. Adam Cuerden talk 09:28, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Anomalies in the script[edit]

Two anomalies arguably are found in the play's script. First, while Frederic's birthday, February 29th, is being celebrated in the opening scene (presumably it is March 1, since Frederic is 21, so it must not be a leap year). In the next scene, however, Major-General Stanley's daughters sing of the "summer rain" (a line carried over from Thespis, for which the song "Climbing over Rocky Mountain" was originally written) and wish to dip their feet in the water at the Cornish seaside, jumping to descriptions and activities from a different season. They alsomention that they are waiting for their papa and the servants to arrive with the luncheon. However, their father, according to the stage directions, arrives alone.

There is another one. During the "often/orphan" argument, the Pirate King says he "only repeated (the word 'often') once. Later, he states that he only said it once, when repeating it once would mean he said it twice (which he actually did). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 10 December 2010 (UTC)


For the G&S articles, we use UK spellings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, however, Fulfil and Fulfill are both correct in the UK. In the US, only Fulfill is correct. In such situations, WP guidelines suggest that it is better to choose a spelling that is correct in both countries. I made the opposite argument in the musical theatre article, which uses US spellings, saying that we should use the spelling "theatre" instead of "theater", since the former spelling is acceptable in both countries. -- Ssilvers 04:21, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Very sensible! -- Derek Ross | Talk 06:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Gracious me! The spelling with three ls is new to me but I must concur. (As with the ubiquitous -ize endings) Tim riley 23:40, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about any "-ize's": "-ise" is correct for British subject articles.  :-) Best regards, -- Ssilvers 06:09, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Dubious statement[edit]

The introduction says, "Its successful 1981 Broadway revival by Joseph Papp refreshed its popularity."

The word "refreshed" suggests that its popularity had been on-the-wane, and that Papp's production was responsible for resurrecting it. To be sure, there was certainly a blip of extra interest in the mid-1980s, just as the release of Topsy-Turvy generated extra interest in The Mikado. But as far as I know, Pirates today is pretty much where it always was in the G&S pecking order. Marc Shepherd 16:15, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it probably didn't change the order of the Big three (whatever it was - I think the opera people say Mikado, Pin, Pir, but the musicals people say Mikado, Pirates, Pin), but I think "refreshed" is a reasonable description - There are lots of productions of Pirates that are influenced by the Papp production, and the mere fact that it had a successful Broadway revival is very helpful in keeping a work before the theatre-going public. But I don't care that much, so feel free to edit away. Meanwhile, have you opened your boxes enough to do the Gondoliers production/casting history? Best regards, -- Ssilvers 17:19, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
If the G&S pieces still have more-or-less the same overall level of popularity as they did before, and if Pirates still has the same relative place in the hierarchy, then Papp's production can't really be said to have "refreshed" anything—except perhaps temporarily. I do agree that the production's influence is still felt.
Yes, I expect to be able to do the Gondoliers production/casting history shortly. Marc Shepherd 17:40, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Leap Years[edit]

It seems to me that since we know that the Happy Event occurs in 1940...

If 1900 is counted as a leap year then Frederick's 21st Birthday occurs after 21 four year periods, (when he is 84 (= 21 * 4) years old)
If 1900 is not counted as a leap year then Frederick's 21st Birthday occurs after 20 four year periods and 1 eight year period when he is 88 (= 20 * 4 + 8) years old

... or have I got it wrong ? -- Derek Ross | Talk 14:43, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

You've got it right. Gilbert clearly assumed that 1900 would be a leap year. Isaac Asimov wrote a short story about that little mistake (sorry...don't have the reference). Marc Shepherd 14:58, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Haven't read Asimov's story but it occurs to me that if Frederick was a member of an Orthodox church using the Julian calendar system (perhaps he came from a Russian or Balkan family which had settled in England), there is no need to assume that either Gilbert or Frederick made a mistake in their assumption about the leap year status of 1900. -- Derek Ross | Talk 15:14, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
That's true, but it starts to get a little far-fetched. Over the years, people have proposed many elaborate explanations to get around the plot inconsistencies that abound in Gilbert's librettos. I think the reality is that he just didn't care very much about it. Marc Shepherd 15:39, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Hi, Derek. Welcome back. The name of the Asimov story was "The Year of the Action". I think that the edit that the editor tried to make in the article this morning would confuse most readers. Most readers will be struggling to grasp the whole leap year joke at face value and will barely follow the idea that Gilbert may have made a counting mistake. To add in the concept of whether F. would have been 84 or 88 seems to me to add unnecessary confusion. My own opinion is that even if Gilbert did have in mind that 1900 skipped the leap year, he still would have written the text to gloss over this so as not to confuse his audience. Best regards, -- Ssilvers 16:12, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

IMNVHO, there's a really dubious assumption buried in all discussions of this: that Frederic was actually born on leap year's day, as the pirate king asserts. There's plenty of reason to question this; just to start with, the daughters' proposal to go wading in the ocean at that season. (This is not the only G&S play in which Gilbert has a character make a surprising if not ridiculous statement, with far-reaching consequences, which is just accepted without any question by the rest of the characters. Buttercup's confession in Pinafore comes to mind, but there are some others.) I'm convinced that Gilbert did this on purpose, expecting the topsy-turvy logic which he loved so well to be recognized as such. A character says it? It must be true! Davecat4 (talk) 00:17, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

The sea off Penzance is warmer than, say, the North Sea but I must admit that my experience is that I wouldn't want to swim in either sea at any time of year unless I absolutely had to. Wading on the other hand would be okay. The season actually doesn't change the sea temperature that much, just the air temperature, and while that would be a concern for swimming, it really isn't for wading. -- Derek Ross | Talk 07:07, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Pirates-of-penzance-DVDcover.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Pirates-of-penzance-DVDcover.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you. BetacommandBot (talk) 21:45, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I added separate fair use rationales for each article. -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:24, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

February 29[edit]

Could someone familiar with The Pirates of Penzance help with the wording about Frederic in the February 29 article? Kingturtle (talk) 13:08, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Done. Happy 37th, Fred! -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:25, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

SpaceQuest Reference[edit]

Perhaps it was not considered sufficiently relevant to be placed in the cultural references, but Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon was named in parody of Penzance. (talk) 03:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't look like the game has anything at all to do with The Pirates of Penzance, does it? The similarity in the name seems purely coincidental, no? Even if it's some kind of pun on the name of the show, it doesn't seem to be a significant reference, unless the game itself or some part of it parodies Pirates. -- Ssilvers (talk) 03:42, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Role list[edit]

The role list is as shown in the score and libretto. Please do not change it. -- Ssilvers (talk) 17:37, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Next time, consider adding a comment next to the headline, such as:
===Roles===<!-- The roll list is as it is written in the score and libretto; do not change it. -->
So that editors can see the reason right before they make an edit. Eugeniu Bmsg 06:46, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Not completely so. There are many publications of the score and libretto that give the names of the Pirate King and the Sergeant as Richard and Edward, respectively. Furthermore, Major-General Stanley is the fourth name in the list, not the first. The roles go King, Samuel, Frederic, Stanley, Sergeant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

This seems to be a first night version. Most modern editions of libretto (e.g. Bradley's one) have it in a way presented in article, and so does Original Plays, volume 2 (an edition published during Gilbert's lifetime). Anyway, I'm going to add a footnote. vvvt 17:36, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Generally, I don't think that role lists on Wikipedia require a note about sources, unless there is a genuine controversy. G&S opera role lists exist in settled states available in the major modern editions of the score (e.g., Chappell and Schirmer), as well as in Bradley (1996), which is the most respected modern compilation of the libretti. I think it's just clutter. If you think we need something, I'd go with Eugeniu's idea of a hidden comment. -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:35, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm not completely sure whether it's useful or not, so I'll leave it up to you. Perhaps we may mention it in the "Versions" section. vvvt 18:55, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I think your footnote is OK. Thanks. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:02, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Synopsis; Birthday[edit]

An editor modified the article to add, early in the synopsis, the date, February 29, as the date of the opening scene. This is wrong for two reasons. First, it is jumping the gun, because the joke about leap year doesn't occur until Act II, and it upsets the narrative flow of the synopsis to start off with it. Second, Frederic is 21 (or 5 and 1/4), so this is not a leap year, and there is no 29 February this year. It must be either March 1 or Feb. 28. Also, as to exactly what year it is, scholars cannot agree, because it is not known whether Gilbert took into account the fact that there was no leap day in 1900 due to the calendar correction. That issue has been discussed here before. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:28, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

External link[edit]

I have removed a link from this and other G&S pages for reasons given at Talk:The_Mikado#External_link - Tim riley (talk) 11:27, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the link can't be used here. See also WP:EL. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:24, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Disaster"[edit]

Should the episode Disaster be included in Cultural Impact? Dr. Crusher and Lt. Cmdr. La Forge are in a cargo bay discussing La Forge's possible participation in a ship production of The Pirates of Penzance and, at Dr. Crusher request, Lt. Cmdr LaForge sings the opening of I am the Very Model of A Modern Major General. Profharoldhill (talk) 20:51, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Can you cite to a WP:Reliable source that shows that this takes place during this episode? I see that the Wikipedia article mentions it, but there is no cite, and does not mention it. -- Ssilvers (talk) 03:03, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Another "in popular culture" tip[edit]

The manual to the original 1985 Paradox (database) was prefaced by the lines from The Pirates:

A paradox, a paradox,
A most ingenious paradox!
We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
But none to beat this paradox!

This is the same Ansa Software manual that featured a double redirect in its index:

Dead parrots, see Parrots, Dead
Parrots, dead, see Dead Parrots

Ah, unfortunately, the manual was recycled at about the same time when we switched from DOS to Win 3.11, so don't ask me for page numbers. Once a great product, it is now remembered only by mossbacks like yours truly. -- East of Borschov 18:18, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

This is fun to know but problably not of encyclopedic interest if the 1985 manual is no longer widely available. See WP:Trivia. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:59, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

New York Tribune Review[edit]

I was delighted to find a fascinating review of the first performance of The Pirates Of Penzance. It was published in the New York Tribune on January 1st. 1880 and a real gem! Visit the article here: MZionC (talk) 12:42, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I added this in the article. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:21, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

63 or 67[edit]

OK, I've been reverted by two editors, so I'd better discuss this. But I really don't understand what's to discuss. The article itself explains the problem with the year 1900. If 1900, which was not a leap year, was taken into account, then Frederic's 21st birthday does not occur until he is 88, which is 67 years after the action of the play. What possible counterargument could there be? Enlighten me. --Trovatore (talk) 08:14, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

It is really a matter of emphasis. The actual plot itself betrays no ambiguity whatsoever. The reader of the article, upon encountering the proposed parenthetical "or 67" in the second paragraph, would be utterly perplexed. Only at the very bottom of the article would the poor reader find the explanation, in the form of a single sentence about an Isaac Asimov short story, buried in a section called "Other references". And although Asimov (writing a hundred years later) considers at some length whether the opera is set in the year 1873 or 1877, there is no evidence that Gilbert or his audiences gave it the slightest consideration. Marc Shepherd (talk) 10:32, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Trovatore's arithmetic is impeccable, but the general view has been that Gilbert simply overlooked the fact that 1900 would not be a leap year. He was not worried about temporal anomalies: cf. Pinafore where someone described as a "lad" and someone old enough to be his father-in-law turn out to have been swapped as babies. I agree it would be very confusing to offer readers two calculations – better stick with the generally accepted one, with apologies to the Astronomer Royal. – Tim riley (talk) 11:15, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
I would go even farther than that: most of the literature on Gilbert & Sullivan doesn't mention this problem at all. It really is a very minor point that most writers on the subject have not even bothered to mention. Marc Shepherd (talk) 16:16, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Does the literature mention the 63 years per se? If not, maybe it would be best to remove the entire calculation as (admittedly very minor) original research. --Trovatore (talk) 18:24, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

It's just arithmetic. That's not OR. If the action of the play is in 1877, as Gilbert probably assumed, then it is 63 years. Here's an article that specifically mentions 63 years: Why make a big deal over this? The way it is written now is helpful to the reader in understanding the joke - the point is that it is going to be a long time, and Frederic and Mabel will be old. Really, do you have anything helpful to contribute here? Perhaps you can do some research on productions around the world over the last 130 years and add more information to the productions section. Or add a textual analysis section? We have all been working on the G&S articles for over four years, and we think you are simply off base. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:29, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

How do we know he assumed it was in 1877? If you just want to say it will be a long time, you could say that. I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume that Gilbert missed this rather obvious point, and it will look bad to a reader who bothers to do the arithmetic for himself. --Trovatore (talk) 19:42, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
For those inclined to explore the literature, the fullest consideration I know of this byway is in Bradley (The Annotated G&S - p. 140 in my copy [note: p. 244 in Bradley 1996], but that is an earlier edition than the one quoted in the article.) He gives 25 lines to the matter, but towards the end acknowledges that it is "entirely of academic interest". - Tim riley (talk) 19:48, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Responding to Trovatore's last question: Because the piece was written in 1879. But whether he did or didn't, whether he remembered about 1900 or thought his audiences would remember, who cares. It's a joke, see? It is not obvious at all to anyone watching the opera; it is beside the point. You are missing the point because you are focused on math, rather than the humor of the opera. Please read Tim riley's first comment above. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:48, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I certainly get the point that it doesn't remotely matter in the context of the play. Just as it doesn't matter that the whole premise is impossible, because at the start they are supposedly celebrating his release from indentures on the day, but there is no such day because it's not a leap year.
But this is an academic article, not a humor piece in and of itself, and it looks bad to assert baldly "63 years", which is not stated anywhere in the text, and which when the text is analyzed as best it can be, does not follow. --Trovatore (talk) 19:52, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Bradley (1996) specifically says that "on the face of it" Frederic is 84 years old in 1940. He explains at length about the 1900 anomaly and wonders whether or not Gilbert was aware of it. But, as Marc Shepherd notes above, no one watching the opera worries about this. BTW, this is not an academic journal, it is an encyclopedia for general reference. -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:59, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I've added a footnote. Satisfied? -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:03, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that works, thanks. --Trovatore (talk) 20:30, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Crowd pleaser[edit]

Two observations, which someone else may be able to substantiate.

1) The police songs and "dance," were such crowd pleasers that the audiences insisted on encores nearly every time they were performed from 1880 to (about) 1980. Modern tastes have become more jaded, I guess.

2) "Hail to Poetry" is as close to serious as the operetta gets. Ought to be able to mention that somewhere. Student7 (talk) 20:01, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

1) Many numbers were encored. I don't think it's relevant. It was true of all the G&S shows, and, in fact, many, many other shows of the period. Since there was no recording technology, the only way to hear a number again (unless you wanted to buy another ticket or buy the score and sing it at home) was to call for an encore. Some argue that the many (too many) encores given by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in later years is one reason why that company did not survive longer. 2) I agree that this article still needs good analysis sections for both text and music. Someday I'll get to it. However, most good comedies have serious moments. I doubt you could prove that "Hail Poetry" (not "Hail TO Poetry") is more serious than, say, the Major General's speech at the beginning of Act II, or Ruth's plea to Frederic that he take her with him back to civilization, or the opening section and touching duet section of "Ah! Leave me not to Pine Alone". In fact, "Hail Poetry" is usually seen as an OTT "mock-serious" satire of churchy odes to art, and the introduction to it is certainly "mock serious". It's just one of many things satirized in this piece. All the best, -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:29, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I will concede "mock serious" for Hail to Poetry.
But D'oyly Carte was not the only one to encore the police scene. I never attended any performance of Pirates where that scene was not encored, and no other. Nor have I seen any G&S when any other songs were encored. But not since the 80s or so. (Posted by Student7 (talk) on 3 November 2010)
Hi. I don't agree. The Major-General's song is normally encored, not the Sergeant of Police's number, although I have known it done. There's no point in arguing about it, though. Let's see WP:Reliable sources to support what you say. Otherwise, it's just WP:OR. If you can find, for example, newspaper reviews where the reviewer notes that he or she always sees the number encored, then we can quote him/her. All the best. -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:58, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Anglican church service[edit]

I can't argue with the statement about the exchange between Mabel and the police. But the police response is really a form of Gregorian chant, well pre-dating Anglican, which might not make any sense if used directly in this article. I'm sure the author and Anglicans were well-aware of this connection. Student7 (talk) 02:11, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. The source cited (Evening Standard) says: "Anglican Church responses". -- Ssilvers (talk) 06:09, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The current first link, "The Pirates of Penzance at The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive", is 404. Consider - (talk) 12:30, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks - I changed the link as you suggest. The G&S Archive, unfortunately, renamed many of its links recently, and so they will need to be updated throughout Wikipedia. Gah! -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:46, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Nice link[edit]

That's a nice little interview with Sir Arthur that you just linked to, ssilvers. Good find, I enjoyed reading it. Thanks! -- Derek Ross | Talk 05:16, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. You can see lots of great links to interviews of G or S on the Archive now: Sullivan and Gilbert. Enjoy! -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Vocal parts[edit]

I have reverted the changes to this section. We must follow the published sources. See the vocal score here. The role of Ruth was created by Alice Barnett, who also created two other Gilbert and Sullivan contralto roles, Lady Jane in Patience and the Fairy Queen in Iolanthe. See also this. For more information, please see WP:OR and WP:V. -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:30, 11 June 2014 (UTC)