Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The pirates of Penzance

The long awaited post about Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous Opera is finally here!
Yeaaah, weren't you all dying to know about it? Good, I like your enthusiasm...
The person who made me discover this Opera, through the movie... and the co-author with me, for many years, of Pirate Balthasar and The Other Side Story... has already forgotten about it (and that's the kind of people I'm best friend with LOL).
The first time I saw it... I didn't really like it. Sense of humor grows up with you, thank God, and that's why now... every time I watch this thing I say: oooh, Kevin, with enemies like you... who needs friends!

What I have in my ipod is a theatrical version... dunno which one... but it's very nice. I have to say that even though the movie is fantastic the theatrical version is so chic and I honestly dream of being able to go see it, one day.

I'll keep it light and short because I could actually blabber for hours and analyze the thing breaking it in tiny bits and pieces... but I won't!

You have to think of Gilbert and Sullivant as the Mel Brooks of their times.
If you are an Opera freak like me... you listen to their songs and you recognize the famous arias they are mocking in 20 seconds: the anvil choir, the barber of seville, there's even some Mozart in there... but I am guessing making fun of Verdi was much better for them.

Now coming to the lyrics... I have never heard jokes so universal and still funny after one full century! Some of the jokes in Aladdin got lost after 5 years!

Is the silliest thing you could come up with: Frederic is mistakenly taken by his nanny to become and apprentice Pirate, while he was supposed to become and apprentice pilot. Now when he turns 21 he can finally say goodbye to his many years of apprenticeship and piracy for his contract will finally end... he was held captive by his sense of duty. He actually hates pirates and wants to exterminate them all. So he bids farewell to his ex comrades and goes on land where he meets many beautiful maidens, none of which wants to fall in love with him, except for one: Mabel. The pirates arrive and want to kidnap Mabel and her sisters... and when the father of the girls tells the pirates he is an orphan they leave, moved to tears, because they are kind to orphans. When act II opens Frederic and Mabel are engaged but the father of the girls cannot sleep at night because he lied to the pirates: he is not an orphan, he bought ancestors with his title and estate a few years before! (LOL). Frederic is going to lead his policemen to defeat the pirate at dawn when, suddenly, his ex boss and the nanny show up to reveal him a interesting secret: he was born in leap year, therefore he is only 5 and a little older, not 21... therefore is still bound to the pirate contract... therefore he has to leave with them... and many many therefore later he confesses that Mabel's father has lied to the pirates. Enraged the pirate king decides he shall get his revenge and lead an attack to the house.
The attack ends with a victory for the pirates but the policemen tell them: we claim you yield in Queen's Victoria's name! And the pirates stop because they love their Queen.
As they are about to be arrested the nanny shows up and tells everyone that the pirates are all noblemen who have gone astray.
Ends with a multiple wedding.

Doesn't is sound incredibly dumb and funny?
I laugh my ass off every time I listen to it.

Why do I love it so much. Well the thing has lines such as:

-"Every one we capture says he's an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. One would think all of Britain's mercantile navy is manned solely by orphans... which I do not think to be so."

- "NARRATOR: Well then, asks Frederic, is there not one maiden here whose homely face and bad complexion has already caused you to abandon all hope of winning a man’s affection? Because if so, says he, I swear by Heaven above you that if you will cast your lot with me, then however plain you be, however homely, however ugly, however bad your complexion--
FREDERIC: --Say, wait a minute!
NARRATOR: If you will cast your lot with me, says Frederic, then I swear by Heaven above you that I will love you.
FREDERIC: ‘Tis true. For I am…a slave of duty."
Can you remember George of the Jungle fighting with the narrator? XDD)

Or when Mabel tells her sister: shame on you, the poor thing deserves to be loved.... they have such a Cassandra reaction:

"The question is, had he not been
A thing of beauty,
Would she be swayed by quite as keen
A sense of duty?"

Or pieces of dialogues such as:

"GENERAL: But wait a bit. I object to pirates as sons-in-law.
KING: We object to major-generals as fathers-in-law. But we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it.
GENERAL: (aside) Hah! an idea! (aloud) And do you mean to say that you would deliberately rob me of these, the sole remaining props of my old age, and leave me to go through the remainder of my life unfriended, unprotected, and alone?
KING: Well, yes, that's the idea.
GENERAL: Tell me, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?
PIRATES: (disgusted) Oh, dash it all!
KING: Here we are again!
GENERAL: I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?

Thus follow a part where the King says: Often and the general says: you mean orphan/Often (same pronunciation) as a person who lost his parent or Often/orphan as frequently?
And the king says: I mean often frequently.
GENERAL: you say often frequently.
KING: no, only once!

Folks, there's nothing one can do about it: when something is written in a clever way it will stay clever for eternity! XD

Say it with me: Deda you are nuts.
Ah, but you have no idea how much of this stuff is actually in the Pirate Balthasar itself.
Starting from the name of our Pirate King, Gilbert Sullivan, to the fact there actually is a Pirate King! XDDD So I challenge you to rent the 1983 movie, hilarious, with gorgeous Kevin Kline in it... and watch it and then let's see how much Gilbert and Sullivan you get in the comic hahahaha.

This is Kevin Kline singing the Pirate King song... I uploaded it to our Facebook page as well, so some of you may know this already.


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