Pirates of Penzance, The (Murray orchestration) - or The Slave of Duty


  • Gilbert/Sullivan
comic opera in two acts
Musicals, Opera
Music by Arthur Sullivan (orchestrated by Peter Murray). Libretto and Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
1110 - 1110 - timp - perc(1) - (pno) - 3 vln I.3 vln II.2 vla.2 vlc.1 db
First Performance
31.12.1879, Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, NYC, USA

Published by Warner/Chappell.  Administered for rental and amateur stage rights by Faber Music Ltd worldwide (excluding North America)

For more information on The Pirates of Penzance, and to see our full catalogue of stage musicals for hire, visit fabermusicals.fabermusic.com
The Story
(The coast of Cornwall)
The pirates of Penzance (a rather tender-hearted band, made up exclusively of orphans and unable to harm anyone of similar background) are celebrating Frederic’s coming of age and subsequent release from his apprenticeship to them. He joined the pirates as a child owing to a mistake by Ruth, his nursemaid, who misheard his father’s instructions to apprentice him to a pilot. She has remained with Frederic ever since and now harbours a desire to marry him. However, Frederic has met and fallen in love with Mabel whose sisters the pirates have claimed as their future brides. Their father, the General, is horrified at this prospect and declares himself to be an orphan, knowing that this will affect their immediate release. As an ex-pirate, Frederic now feels that his duty is to society and he wastes no time in assembling a police force to capture the pirates. He is, therefore, dismayed when he learns from Ruth and the Pirate King that, due to the fact that his Birthday is on the 29th February and only occurs once every four years, he has in effect only had five birthdays; the terms of his apprenticeship state that he is bound to the pirates until his 21st Birthday. Consequently, feeling that his loyalty is now to the pirates again, he reveals that the General is not really an orphan. The Pirate King is furious that he has been tricked and he plots to capture the General, his daughters and the policemen to take his revenge. This task proves no problem to his band of men until the Sergeant demands that they surrender in the name of Queen Victoria. This is too much for them and they yield to the request. However, as they are about to be taken into custody Ruth reveals that they are not really pirates at all, but noblemen who have gone astray. On hearing this, the General orders their release, restores them to their rightful ranks and offers them his daughters in marriage.
Major-General Stanley
The Pirate King
Samuel (his Lieutenant)
Frederic (the Pirate Apprentice)
Sergeant of Police
Mabel, Kate, Isabel and Edith (General Stanley’s Daughters) 
Ruth (a Pirate Maid of all Work)
Oh, Better Far To Live and Die (Pirate King, Chorus)
Poor Wand’ring One (Mable, Chorus)
I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General (Major General, Chorus)
When The Foeman Bares His Steel (Mable, Edith, Sergeant, Chorus)
When You Had Left Our Pirate Fold (Ruth, Frederic, King)
When A Felon’s Not Engaged In His Employment (Sergeant, Chorus)
With Cat-Like Tread (Samuel, Chorus of Pirates)

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