H.M.S. Pinafore (or The Lass that Loved a Sailor) was Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourth operatic collaboration and their first international sensation. By the spring of 1879, H.M.S. Pinafore had become the most popular theatrical attraction the United States had ever seen. Following the opera’s London premiere in May 1878, approximately 150 unauthorised productions were mounted across America. At one point in New York the piece played simultaneously in eight theatres within five blocks of each other. Gilbert and Sullivan made arrangements to travel to New York to present the first legitimate production of Pinafore, which took place in December 1879, and decided also to premiere their new opera – The Pirates of Penzance – in the United States, in order to secure American copyright, and to avoid the widespread pirating of their work.

SYNOPSIS: On the British ship H.M.S. Pinafore, the captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with lower-class sailor Ralph, although her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. She abides by her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story….

Instrumentation
FLUTE (db. Piccolo) : OBOE : CLARINET (db. A Clarinet) : HORN : TRUMPET : TROMBONE : 2 PERCUSSION (Cymbals, Bass Drum, Side Drum, Triangle, Snare Drum, Timpani) : VIOLIN I : VIOLIN II : VIOLA : CELLO : BASS : FULL SCORE