H.M.S. Pinafore

H.M.S. Pinafore

"H.M.S. Pinafore", "or The Lass that Loved a Sailor", is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It is one of the Savoy Operas, and the first big hit by Gilbert and Sullivan. It opened at the Opera Comique in London on May 25 1878 for a run of 571 performances, which was the second longest run of any musical theatre piece up to that time (after the operetta "Les Cloches de Corneville"). "H.M.S. Pinafore" was Gilbert and Sullivan's fourth operatic collaboration.

Drawing on several of his earlier "Bab Ballad" poems, Gilbert imbued "H.M.S. Pinafore" with mirth and silliness to spare. [The Bab Ballads from which elements of "Pinafore" were drawn include "Captain Reece" (1868) and "The Bumboat Woman's Story" (1870).] The opera's gentle satire reprises and builds on a theme introduced in "The Sorcerer" – love between members of different social classes. The opera also pokes good-natured fun at the Royal Navy and, in themes to be repeated in the later operas, parliamentary politics and the rise of unqualified people to positions of authority. The title of the work itself is humorous, as it juxtaposes the name of a little girl's garment, pinafore (which sounds like "semaphore"), with the symbol of a naval war ship.

The plot revolves around a naval captain's daughter who is in love with a lower-class foremast hand (a common sailor, well below officer rank), even though her father intends her to marry the First Lord of the Admiralty, the cabinet minister in charge of the Royal Navy. As with most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise twist changes everything dramatically near the end of the story.


In 1875, Richard D'Oyly Carte, then the manager of the Royalty Theatre for Selena Dolaro, brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to write a one-act opera, "Trial by Jury". [Ainger, pp. 107–08] This proved a smash hit, and in 1876 Carte assembled a group of financial backers to establish his own Comedy Opera Company, devoted to the production and promotion of English opera. [Ainger, p. 130] With this theatre company, Carte finally had the financial resources, after many failed attempts, to back another Gilbert and Sullivan opera. [Ainger, pp. 110, 119-20, and 130-31; Jacobs, p. 109] This next opera was "The Sorcerer", and it proved a success, [Jacobs, pp. 113-14] running for 178 performances. [Ainger, p. 157] With this new company, also, Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte were able to choose their own cast of performers, rather than being obligated to use the actors already engaged at the theatre in which they produced their opera, which was the usual system in Victorian theatres. They chose talented actors, most of whom were not well-known stars, and so did not command high fees, and whom they felt they could mould to their own style. Then, they tailored their work to the particular abilities of these performers. [Jacobs, p. 111; Ainger, pp. 133-34]

Genesis of "H.M.S. Pinafore"

The success of "The Sorcerer" made another collaboration by Gilbert and Sullivan inevitable. Carte agreed on terms for a new opera with his Comedy Opera Company financial backers, and Gilbert began work on a new opera, "H.M.S. Pinafore", before the end of 1877, sending Sullivan a plot sketch on December 27. [Ainger, p. 145] Gilbert's draft reached Sullivan while he was on holiday on the Riviera, accompanied by the following note from Gilbert:Jacobs, pp. 114-15]

cquote|I have very little doubt whatever but that you will be pleased with it. I should have liked to have talked it over with you, as there is a good deal of fun in it which I haven't set down on paper. Among other things a song (a kind of 'Judge's Song') for the First Lord – tracing his career as office-boy... clerk, traveller, junior partner and First Lord of Britain's Navy. I think a splendid song can be made of this. Of course there will be no "personality" in this – the fact that the First Lord in the Opera is a "Radical" of the most pronounced type will do away with any suspicion that W. H. Smith is intended. Mrs. Cripps [Little Buttercup] will be a capital part for Everard. I propose to have no "comprimaria".... Barrington will be a capital captain, and Grossmith a first-rate First Lord....

...As soon as I hear from you that the plot will do, I will set to work, sending you the first act as soon as it is finished.

Despite Gilbert's disclaimer, everyone identified W. H. Smith with Sir Joseph Porter, but in general, Gilbert's intentions in this early sketch were turned into reality. [Jacobs, p. 115]

Following the example of his mentor, T. W. Robertson, Gilbert strived to ensure that the costumes and sets were made as realistic as possible. [Stedman, p. 129] This attention to detail was typical of Gilbert's stage management and would be repeated in all of the Savoy Operas. [Crowther, p. 90] When preparing the sets for "H.M.S. Pinafore" (1878), Gilbert and Sullivan visited Portsmouth in April 1878 to inspect ships. Gilbert made sketches of H.M.S. Victory and H.M.S. St Vincent and created a model set for the carpenters to work from. [Stedman, pp. 157–58; Crowther, p. 90; Ainger, p. 154] This was far from standard procedure in Victorian drama, where naturalism was still a relatively new concept, and where most authors had very little influence on how their plays and libretti were staged. [Crowther, pp. 87–89] During the composition of the bright and cheerful music of "Pinafore", Sullivan suffered from excruciating pain from a kidney stone. [Ainger, p. 155 and Bradley, pp. 115–16]

Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte used most of the same principal cast members that they had used in "The Sorcerer". Mrs. Howard Paul, who had played Lady Sangazure in "The Sorcerer", however, [Mrs Paul, nee Isabella Featherstone (1833 - 1879) had left her husband around 1977, as he was having an affair with the actress-dancer Letty Lind, with whom he sired two illegitimate children. However, she continued performing under this name. Cruickshank, Graeme. "The Life and Loves of Letty Lind" in "The Gaiety", Issue 22, Summer 2007] was declining vocally, and by mid-May 1878, both Gilbert and Sullivan wanted her out of the cast. With only a week to go before opening night, Carte hired concert singer Jessie Bond to play the role of Cousin Hebe. [Ainger, pp. 156–57] Since Bond had little experience as an actress, however, Gilbert and Sullivan cut out most of the dialogue from the role and turned some of it into recitative. As was to be his usual practise, Sullivan left the overture for last, sketching it out and leaving it to the company's music director, Alfred Cellier, to complete. [Ainger, p. 157]


"Pinafore" opened on 25 May 1878 at the Opera Comique, before an enthusiastic audience. [Ainger, pp. 157–58] Soon, however, the piece suffered from weak ticket sales, generally ascribed to a heat wave that summer, [ [http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/books/bond/chapter04.htm Bond, Chapter 4] ] although historian Michael Ainger notes that the heat waves were of short durations. [Ainger, p. 160] Biographer Arthur Jacobs comments that the "grudging welcome" by the press for "Pinafore" could not have helped. [Jacobs, p. 119] Richard D'Oyly Carte's four producing partners of The Comedy Opera Company lost confidence in the opera's viability and posted closing notices.Fact|date=September 2008 In August, Sullivan used some of the "Pinafore" music during several successful Promenade Concerts at Covent Garden, and by September, "Pinafore" was playing to full houses at the theatre and touring the provinces with success. [Ainger, pp. 162–63] Carte persuaded the author and composer that a business partnership among the three of them would be profitable. The Opera Comique was required to close at Christmas 1878 for repairs to drainage and sewage under the Public Health Act of 1875. Carte used the enforced closure of the theatre to evoke a contract clause reverting the rights of "Pinafore" and "Sorcerer" to Gilbert and Sullivan, who entrusted them to him, and to take a six-month personal lease on the theatre beginning on 1 February. [Ainger, pp. 165–67]

Meanwhile, numerous pirated versions of "Pinafore" began to be played in America with great success. Pinafore became a source of popular quotations, such as the exchange::"What, never?" :"No, never!":"What, "never?":"Well, hardly ever!" [ [http://math.boisestate.edu/GaS/other_sullivan/lawrence/lawrence_3.html Lawrence, Arthur H. "An illustrated interview with Sir Arthur Sullivan"] Part 3, from "The Strand Magazine", Vol. xiv, No.84 (December 1897)] [Ainger, p. 166] [Also popular was the verse, "For in spite of all temptations / To belong to other nations / He remains an Englishman."]

In February 1879, "Pinafore" resumed profitable operations at the Opera Comique, and touring resumed in April, with two touring companies crisscrossing the provinces by June (one starring Richard Mansfield and the other W. S. Penley as Sir Joseph). Carte left for America to make arrangements for a New York theatre and tours for "Pinafore", "Sorcerer" and the next opera in America. [Ainger, pp. 168–69]

Sullivan, as had been arranged with Carte and Gilbert, gave notice to the partners of the Comedy Opera Company in early July 1879 that he, Gilbert and Carte would not be renewing the contract to produce "Pinafore" with them. [Ainger, p. 169] The disgruntled partners in return gave notice that they intended to play "Pinafore" at another theatre and brought a legal action against Carte and company. They offered the London and touring casts of "Pinafore" more money to play in their production. They engaged the Imperial Theatre but had no scenery. On 31 July, they sent a group of thugs to seize the scenery during the evening performance at the Opera Comique. [Ainger, p. 170] Stagehands successfully managed to ward off their backstage attackers and protect the scenery. [ [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-opcom.html Article about the fracas during "Pinafore" at the Opera Comique] ] Gilbert sued to stop the former partners from staging their rival production of "H.M.S.Pinafore". [Ainger, p. 171] The court permitted the production to go on, but it was not as popular as the D'Oyly Carte production and was withdrawn in October. The matter was settled in court, where a judge ruled in Carte's favour about two years later. [Ainger, p. 175]

Some of the most popular songs from the opera include "I'm called Little Buttercup", the solo introducing the round, rosy, but mysterious bumboat woman, [Gilbert had introduced this character in his 1870 Bab Ballad "The Bumboat Woman's Story").] "A British tar" (a glee for three men describing the ideal sailor, composed by Sir Joseph "to encourage independent thought and action in the lower branches of the service, and to teach the principle that a British sailor is any man's equal, excepting mine"); "Never mind the why and wherefore" (a trio for the Captain, Josephine, and Sir Joseph); and Sir Joseph's patter song "When I was a lad" (like the judge's song in "Trial by Jury", a satire on the meteoric career of an incompetent man to high office – in this case, the story bears similarities to the career of William Henry Smith, the newsagent who had risen to the position of First Lord of the Admiralty in 1877).

On 20 February 1880, "Pinafore" completed its initial run of 571 performances. [Ainger, p. 184] Only one other work of musical theatre in the world had ever run longer, Robert Planquette's operetta "Les Cloches de Corneville"). [Gillan, Don. [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-frames.html?http&&&www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-longr.html "Longest Running Plays in London and New York",] StageBeauty.net (2007)] "Pinafore" remains one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular works, perhaps because of its infectious tunes and generally well-constructed libretto.Fact|date=June 2008

Bringing "Pinafore" to the U.S.

Over a hundred unauthorised productions "Pinafore" sprang up in the United States. [Prestige, Colin. "D'Oyly Carte and the Pirates", a paper presented at the International Conference of G&S held at the University of Kansas, May 1970] In New York, the piece was playing in eight theatres within five blocks of each other. These pirated versions took many forms, including burlesque versions, all-negro versions, all-Catholic versions, performances on boats and productions starring a cast of children.Bradley, p. 116] Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte brought law suits in the U.S. and tried for many years to control the American performance copyrights over their operas, or at least to claim some royalties, without success. [See [http://www.edwardsamuels.com/illustratedstory/isc10.htm this article about international copyright pirating, focusing on Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte's efforts to combat it] and [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=963540 this article on the pirating of G&S operas (and other works) and the development of performance copyrights] ] They made a special effort to claim American rights for their next work after "Pinafore", "The Pirates of Penzance", by giving the official premiere in New York at the Fifth Avenue Theatre under the management of John T. Ford.

Carte had travelled to New York in the summer of 1879 and made arrangements with Ford to open at the Fifth Avenue Theatre with the first authorized American production of "Pinafore" on 1 December, to be followed by the premiere of "Pirates" on 31 December and two American touring companies. [Ainger, p. 169] In November, he returned with a company of strong singers, including J. H. Ryley as Sir Joseph, Blanche Roosevelt as Josephine, Alice Barnett as little Buttercup, Furneaux Cook as Dick Deadeye, Hugh Talbot as Ralph Rackstraw and Jessie Bond as Cousin Hebe. To these, he added some American singers, including Signor Brocolini as Captain Corcoran. After "Pinafore" ran through December, "Pirates" played at the Fifth Avenue Theatre through February to strong houses. Carte then sent three touring companies around the U.S. East Coast and Midwest, playing "The Sorcerer", "Pinafore" and "Pirates". [Ainger, pp. 182–83]

Children's productions

The pirated juvenile productions of "Pinafore" were so popular that Carte mounted his own children's version. [ [http://www.library.rochester.edu/index.cfm?PAGE=4140 Links to programmes, including one for Carte's "children's Pinafore"] ] Captain Corcoran's curse "Damme!" was uncensored in early children's productions of "Pinafore", shocking such prominent audience members as Lewis Carroll, who wrote, "...a bevy of sweet innocent-looking girls sing, with bright and happy looks, the chorus 'He said, Damn me! He said, Damn me!' I cannot find words to convey to the reader the pain I felt in seeing these dear children taught to utter such words to amuse ears grown callous to their ghastly meaning. Put the two ideas side by side – Hell (no matter whether you believe in it or not; millions do) and those pure young lips thus sporting with its horrors – and then find what fun in it you can! How Mr Gilbert could have stooped to write, or Arthur Sullivan could have prostituted his noble art to set to music, such vile trash, it passes my skill to understand." [ [http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~melbear/potted4.htm From the Gilbert and Sullivan "Potted History" site] ]


*The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty (comic baritone)
*Captain Corcoran, Commander of H.M.S. "Pinafore" (lyric baritone)
*Ralph Rackstraw,Ralph is pronounced "Raif" IPA| [reɪf] , [http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxwordsw.html the traditional British pronunciation] , which is important because it rhymes with "waif" in the lyrics of Little Buttercup's Act II song, "A many years ago".] Able Seaman (tenor)
*Dick Deadeye, Able Seaman (bass-baritone)
*Bill Bobstay, Boatswain's Mate (first mate) (baritone)
*Bob Becket, Carpenter's Mate (bass)
*Josephine, The Captain's Daughter (soprano)
*Cousin Hebe, Sir Joseph's First Cousin (mezzo-soprano)
*Mrs. Cripps (Little Buttercup), A Portsmouth Bumboat Woman (contralto)
*Chorus of First Lord's Sisters, His Cousins, His Aunts, Sailors, Marines, etc.


Act I

The British warship H.M.S. Pinafore is in port at Portsmouth. It is noontime, and the sailors are on the quarterdeck, "cleaning brasswork, splicing rope, etc."

Little Buttercup, a Portsmouth "bumboat woman" (dockside vendor) — who is the "rosiest, roundest, and reddest beauty in all Spithead" — comes on board to sell her wares. She hints that she may be hiding a dark secret under her "gay and frivolous exterior". The Boatswain demurs that he's never thought about that, but the grim and ugly realist, Dick Deadeye, says he's "thought it, often". Ralph Rackstraw, "the smartest lad in all the fleet," enters, declaring his love for the Captain's daughter, Josephine. His fellow sailors (excepting Dick) offer their sympathies, but can give Ralph little hope that his love will ever be returned.

The Captain greets his crew and compliments them on their politeness, saying that he returns the compliment by never ("well, hardly ever") using bad language, such as "a big, big D." After the sailors have left, the Captain complains to Little Buttercup that Josephine has not taken kindly to a marriage proposal from Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Buttercup says that she knows how it feels to love in vain. As she leaves, the Captain remarks that she is "a plump and pleasing person." Josephine enters and confesses to her father that she loves a common sailor, but she is a dutiful daughter and will marry Sir Joseph as her father wishes.

Sir Joseph comes on board, accompanied by his sisters, cousins, and aunts. After telling everyone how he came to be "ruler of the Queen's Navee," he delivers a lesson in etiquette. He tells the Captain that he must always say "if you please" after an order; for, as he says, "A British sailor is any man's equal" – excepting his. Sir Joseph has composed a song to illustrate that point, and he gives a copy of it to Ralph.

Elated by Sir Joseph's views on equality, Ralph decides that he will confess his love to Josephine to the delight of his shipmates, except Dick, who explains that equality is incompatible with the giving and obeying of orders. In horror at his words, the sailors force Dick to listen to Sir Joseph's song before all exit, leaving Ralph alone. Josephine now enters, and Ralph confesses his love. Although she finds Sir Joseph's attentions nauseating, she knows she is obligated to marry him. Keeping her feelings to herself, she haughtily rejects Ralph's advances.

Ralph summons his shipmates, and tells them he is bent on suicide. He puts a pistol to his head, but as he is about to pull the trigger, Josephine enters, proclaiming she loves him after all. Ralph and Josephine plan to sneak ashore to get married that night. Dick Deadeye warns them that their actions will lead to trouble, but he is ignored by the joyous ensemble.

Act II

Later that night, under a full moon, Captain Corcoran confesses his concerns: all his friends are deserting him, and Sir Joseph has threatened a court-martial. Little Buttercup offers sympathy. He tells her that, if it were not for the difference in their social standing, he would have returned her affections. She prophesies that things are not all as they seem, and that a change is in store, but he does not understand her.

Sir Joseph enters, and complains that Josephine has not yet agreed to marry him. The Captain speculates that she is probably dazzled by his superior rank, and that if he can persuade her that "love levels all ranks," she will accept his proposal. When Sir Joseph makes this argument, a delighted Josephine says that she is convinced. The Captain and Sir Joseph rejoice, but Josephine, in an aside, admits that she is now more determined than ever to marry Ralph.

Dick Deadeye intercepts the Captain, and tells him of the lovers' plans to elope. The Captain confronts Ralph and Josephine as they try to leave the ship. The pair declare their love, adding that "I am (He is) an Englishman!" The furious Captain is unmoved, and says, "Why, damme, it's too bad!" Sir Joseph and his relatives, who have overheard, are shocked to hear swearing on board a ship, and Sir Joseph orders the Captain to his cabin.

When Sir Joseph asks what had provoked this outburst, Ralph replies that it was his declaration of love for Josephine. Furious in his turn at this revelation, Sir Joseph has Ralph put in chains and taken to the ship's dungeon. Little Buttercup now reveals her secret. Years before, when she was a nursemaid, she had cared for two babies, one "of low condition," the other "a regular patrician." She confesses that she "mixed those children up and not a creature knew it.... The wellborn babe was Ralph; your Captain was the other."

Sir Joseph now realizes that Ralph should have been the Captain, and the Captain should have been Ralph. He summons both, and they emerge wearing one another's uniforms: Ralph is now middle-class, and in command of the "Pinafore", while the former Captain is now a common sailor. Sir Joseph's marriage with Josephine is now impossible. As he explains it, "love levels all ranks... to a considerable extent, but it does not level them as much as that." He gives her to now-Captain Rackstraw. The former Captain, with his rank reduced, is free to marry Buttercup. Sir Joseph settles for his cousin Hebe, and all ends in general rejoicing.

Musical numbers

* Overture

Act I

* 1. "We sail the ocean blue" (Sailors)
* 2. "Hail! men-o'-war's men" ... "I'm called Little Buttercup" (Buttercup)
* 2a. "But tell me who's the youth" (Buttercup and Boatswain)
* 3. "The nightingale" (Ralph and Chorus of Sailors)
* 3a. "A maiden fair to see" (Ralph and Chorus of Sailors)
* 4. "My gallant crew, good morning" (Captain Corcoran and Chorus of Sailors)
* 4a. "Sir, you are sad" (Buttercup and Captain Corcoran)
* 5. "Sorry her lot who loves too well" (Josephine)
* 5a. Cut song: "Reflect, my child" (Captain Corcoran and Josephine)
* 6. "Over the bright blue sea" (Chorus of Female Relatives)
* 7. "Sir Joseph's barge is seen" (Chorus of Sailors and Female Relatives)
* 8. "Now give three cheers" (Captain Corcoran, Sir Joseph, Cousin Hebe, and Chorus)
* 9. "When I was a lad" (Sir Joseph and Chorus)
* 9a. "For I hold that on the sea" (Sir Joseph, Cousin Hebe, and Chorus)
* 10. "A British tar" (Ralph, Boatswain, Carpenter's Mate, and Chorus of Sailors)
* 11. "Refrain, audacious tar" (Josephine and Ralph)
* 12. Finale, Act I: "Can I survive this overbearing?"

Act II


* 13. "Fair moon, to thee I sing" (Captain Corcoran)
* 14. "Things are seldom what they seem" (Buttercup and Captain Corcoran)
* 15. "The hours creep on apace" (Josephine)
* 16. "Never mind the why and wherefore" (Josephine, Captain, and Sir Joseph)
* 17. "Kind Captain, I've important information" (Captain and Dick Deadeye)
* 18. "Carefully on tiptoe stealing" (Soli and Chorus)
* 18a."Pretty daughter of mine" (Captain and Ensemble) and "He is an Englishman" (Boatswain and Ensemble)
* 19. "Farewell, my own" (Ralph, Josephine, Sir Joseph Porter, Buttercup, and Chorus)
* 20. "A many years ago" (Buttercup and Chorus)
* 20a. "Here, take her, sir" (Sir Joseph, Josephine, Ralph, Cousin Hebe, and Chorus)1
* 21. Finale: "Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen" (Ensemble) 2

1See discussion, below.

2Includes reprises of several songs, concluding with "For he is an Englishman".


Ballad for Captain Corcoran, "Reflect, my child"

During rehearsals for the original production, Gilbert added a ballad for Captain Corcoran in which he urged his daughter to forget the common sailor she is in love with, who "at every step...would commit solecisms that society would never pardon." The ballad was meant to be sung between No. 5 and No. 6 of the current score, but was cut before opening night. The words survive in the libretto that was deposited with the Lord Chamberlain for licensing. Before 1999, all that was known to survive of Sullivan's setting was a copy of the leader violin part.

In April 1999, Sullivan scholars Bruce I. Miller and Helga J. Perry announced that they had discovered a nearly complete orchestration – lacking only the second violin part – in a private collection of early band parts. These materials, with a conjectural reconstruction of the lost vocal lines and second violin part, were later published and professionally recorded. [ [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/html/lost.html Article about the "Reflect my Child" reconstruction] ] This piece has now been performed a number of times by amateur and professional companies, although it has not become a standard addition to the traditional scores.

Dialogue for Cousin Hebe

In the licensing copy of the libretto, Sir Joseph's cousin Hebe had lines of dialogue in several scenes in Act II. In the scene that follows No. 14 ("Things are seldom what they seem"), she accompanied Sir Joseph onstage and echoed the First Lord's dissatisfaction with Josephine. After several interruptions, Sir Joseph urged her to be quiet, eliciting the response "Crushed again!" Gilbert would later re-use this passage for Lady Jane in "Patience". Hebe was also assigned several lines of dialogue after No. 18 ("Carefully on tiptoe stealing"), and again after No. 19 ("Farewell, my own.")

Late in rehearsals for the original production, Jessie Bond assumed the role of Hebe, replacing Mrs. Howard Paul). Miss Bond, who at this point in her career was known primarily as a concert singer and had no experience as an actress, did not feel capable of performing dialogue, and these passages were revised to cut Hebe's dialogue. Hebe's dialogue is occasionally restored in modern performances, particularly her lines in the scene following No. 14. [ [http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/html/expanded_hebe.htm G&S Archive discussion on restoring the cut Hebe dialogue] ]

Recitative preceding the Act II finale

The dialogue preceding the Act II finale, starting with "Here, take her sir, and mind you treat her kindly," was originally recitative. The music for this passage was printed in the first edition of the vocal score as No. 20a. Shortly after opening night, the recitative was dropped, and the lines thereafter were performed as spoken dialogue. The recitative is rarely performed.


From the beginning, "H.M.S. Pinafore" has been one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular comic operas. Its initial run of 571 performances only begins to explain its popularity. [Bradley, p. 115] After its initial success in London became clear, Richard D'Oyly Carte dispatched touring companies into the British provinces. There was a company playing "Pinafore" under his aegis close to continuously between 1878 and 1888. The opera was then given a rest, returning to the touring repertory again between 1894–1900, and then most of the time between 1903–1940. [Rollins and Witts, pp. 7-164]

In the winter of 1940–41, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company scenery and costumes for "Pinafore" and three other operas were destroyed in enemy action. [Rollins and Witts, p. 165] The opera spent seven years out of the repertory before a London revival in the summer of 1947. [Rollins and Witts, pp. 165-72] It was then included in the D'Oyly Carte repertory in every season from then on, until the company's closure in 1982. [Rollins and Witts, pp. 172-86, and supplements] The D'Oyly Carte company performed "Pinafore" before Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family at Windsor Castle on 16 June 1977 (the first royal command performance there since 1891).

In America, "Pinafore" was an instant success. The first American production was given at the Boston Museum on November 25 1878. According to Reginald Allen, some 150 companies played the opera (all without royalties to the authors) before Gilbert, Sullivan, and D'Oyly Carte arrived to present the "authorised" version, which opened in New York on 1 December 1879. [Allen (1979), p. 2] In Australia, its first authorized performance was on 15 November 1879 at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, produced by the J. C. Williamson company.

The following table shows the history of the D'Oyly Carte productions in Gilbert's lifetime:

1 The Midshipmite, Tom Tucker, is traditionally played by a child. "Fitzaltamont" was likely a pseudonym used to protect the child's identity, as the same name appears on programmes of several provincial touring companies.


The 1930 recording is notable for preserving the performances of the best D'Oyly Carte Opera Company stars of the era. Of the post-war D'Oyly Carte the 1960, which contains all the dialogue, is most admired. The New D'Oyly Carte recording also contains complete dialogue and the "lost" ballad for Captain Corcoran, "Reflect, my child," as a bonus track. The Mackerras recording, featuring opera singers in the roles, is musically well-regarded. on one CD, is particularly compelling. [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin.htm List and assessments of recordings of the opera] ]

On video, the 1973 D'Oyly Carte preserves the company's traditional style of the period, but some people find it dull. The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival offers various video recordings of the opera, including its 2003 professional G&S Opera Company video. [ [http://cnb-host4.clickandbuild.com/cnb/shop/musicalcollectablesltd?listPos=6&op=catalogue-products&prodCategoryID=43 G&S Opera Company recordings] ]

;Selected recordings
*1922 D'Oyly Carte – Conductors: Harry Norris and G. W. Byng [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin1922.htm Review of 1922 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1930 D'Oyly Carte – London Symphony Orchestra; Conductor: Malcolm Sargent [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin1922.htm Review of 1922 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1949 D'Oyly Carte – Conductor: Isidore Godfrey [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin1949.htm Review of 1949 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1958 Sargent/Glyndebourne – Pro Arte Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus; Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinsarg.htm Review of 1958 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1960 D'Oyly Carte (with dialogue) – New Symphony Orchestra of London; Conductor: Isidore Godfrey [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin1960.htm Review of 1960 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1972 G&S For All – G&S Festival Chorus & Orchestra; Conductor: Peter Murray [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pingsfa.htm Review of 1972 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1973 D'Oyly Carte (video) – Conductor: Royston Nash [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pin1973v.htm Review of 1973 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1981 Stratford Festival (video) – Conductor: Berthold Carrière; Director: Leon Major [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinstrat.htm Review of 1981 video recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1987 New Sadler's Wells Opera – Conductor: Simon Phipps [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinnswo.htm Review of 1987 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1994 Mackerras/Telarc – Orchestra and Chorus of the Welsh National Opera; Conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinmack.htm Review of 1994 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*1997 Essgee Entertainment (video; adapted) – Conductor: Kevin Hocking [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinessgee.htm Review of 1997 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]
*2000 New D'Oyly Carte (with dialogue) – Conductor: John Owen Edwards [ [http://www.cris.com/~oakapple/gasdisc/pinndoc.htm Review of 2000 recording of "H.M.S. Pinafore"] ]


*George S. Kaufman wrote a Broadway musical in 1945 called "Hollywood Pinafore" based on "H.M.S. Pinafore" and using Sullivan's music.
*Essgee Entertainment produced an adapted version of "H.M.S. Pinafore" in 1997 in Australia and New Zealand. [ [http://essgee.com/html/PINindex.html Information about Essgee's "Pinafore"] ]
* "Pinafore Swing", first performed at the Watermill Theatre in England in 2004, with music arranged by Sarah Travis and directed by John Doyle (the team responsible for the actor-orchestra staging of the 2006 Broadway revival of "Sweeney Todd"). The adaptation assigns all the musical parts to a reduced-size acting cast, who also serve as the orchestra, playing the musical instruments, and the music is infused with swing rhythms.

Cultural impact

"Pinafore" had a profound effect on musical theatre in general and American musicals in particular. According to critic Andrew Lamb, "The success of H.M.S. Pinafore in 1879 established British comic opera alongside French opera bouffe throughout the English-speaking world. Over the next twenty years successful British comic operas continued to cross the Atlantic almost as a matter of course." [Lamb, Andrew. [http://www.jstor.org/stable/3052183 "From Pinafore to Porter: United States-United Kingdom Interactions in Musical Theater, 1879–1929",] "American Music, Vol. 4, No. 1", British-American Musical Interactions (Spring, 1986), p. 35, University of Illinois Press, retrieved September 18, 2008] Theatre historian John Kenrick comments that "Pinafore" "became an international sensation, reshaping the commercial theater in both England and the United States." [Kenrick, John. [http://www.musicals101.com/g&scanon.htm "Gilbert & Sullivan 101: The G&S Canon",] "The Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Film" (2008). Retrieved on 18 July 2008. See also Bordman, Bradley (2005), Gänzl (1995) and Lamb] "Pinafore's" popularity also led to musical theatre adaptations of the piece itself, including George S. Kaufman's 1945 Broadway musical "Hollywood Pinafore" and "Pinafore Swing", a 2004 British swing adaptation with a score arranged by Sarah Travis in which the actors serve as the orchestra, playing the musical instruments. Several other musicals parody or pastiche "Pinafore". [See [http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/parodies/html/pofp_home.html "The Pirates of Pinafore",] with book and lyrics by David Eaton; [http://uk.musicline-ltd.com/products/the_pinafore_pirates_(senior)_-_malcolm_sircom.htm "The Pinafore Pirates",] by Malcolm Sircom; [http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/fraser.charlton/myshows/page24/mutiny.html "Mutiny on the Pinafore",] by Fraser Charlton; and [http://home.att.net/~coriolan/musical/hmsdumbledore.htm "H.M.S. Dumbledore",] by Caius Marcius. All retrieved on 18 July 2008.]

In addition, songs from "Pinafore" have been widely parodied or pastiched in films, on television and in a variety of other media. [ [http://www.mugss.org/society/gands/culture/ "G&S Pop culture references",] MUGSS website. Retrieved on 29 July 2008] For example, in a 1963 comedy album, Allan Sherman parodied "When I was a lad," from the point of view of a young man going to an Ivy League school and then rising to prominence in an advertising agency. At the end he thanks old Yale, he thanks the Lord, and he thanks his father "who is chairman of the board". [Sherman, Allan. "My Son, the Celebrity" (1963). Stanley Ralph Ross, in turn, parodied Sherman's Gilbert and Sullivan routines with a fat man's lament called "I'm Called Little Butterball" (to the tune of "I'm Called Little Buttercup"), about Sherman's admitted corpulence in his album with Bob Arbogast "My Son, the Copycat" (1964)] On his next album, Sherman sang "Little Butterball" to the tune of "I'm Called Little Buttercup". [Sherman's version, with new lyrics, followed Stanley Ross's 1963 song on the same subject. Sherman, Allan. [http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/sherman_allan/albums.jhtml?albumId=696185 Track listing] from "Allan in Wonderland" (1964)] Literary references to "Pinafore" songs include those in "Runaround", a story in "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov, where a robot sings part of "I'm Called Little Buttercup". [In 1908 Gilbert wrote a book called [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/book/index.html "The Story of HMS Pinafore",] a retelling of the story for "young readers." In addition, Gilbert and Sullivan themselves referred to "Pinafore" in two of their subsequent operas: in the "Major-General's Song" from their next opera, "The Pirates of Penzance", and with the appearance of an older "Captain Corcoran, KCB", in "Utopia, Limited", the only recurring character in the G&S canon.] "Pinafore" songs and images have also been used in advertising. For example, "Pinafore" themed trading cards were created. [ [http://math.boisestate.edu/GaS/pinafore/sapolio/spolio.html "Pinafore" advertising cards] ]

;Film referencesParticularly notable examples of the use of songs from "Pinafore" in films include "The Good Shepherd" (2006), which depicts an all-male version of "Pinafore" at Yale University. The Matt Damon character plays Little Buttercup, singing falsetto. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343737/soundtrack Track listing for "The Good Shepherd",] IMDB database. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] In the 1981 British historical film "Chariots of Fire", the protagonist, Harold Abrahams, and others from Cambridge University, sing "For he is an Englishman". [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082158/soundtrack Track listing for "Chariots of Fire",] IMDB database. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] In the 2003 movie "Peter Pan", the Darling family sings "When I Was A Lad". [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316396/soundtrack Track listing for "Peter Pan" (2003),] IMDB database. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0316396/trivia Explanation of context of "When I Was a Lad" in "Peter Pan" (2003),] IMDB dabase. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] Characters also sing various songs from "Pinafore" in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082971/soundtrack Soundtrack information for "Raiders of the Lost Ark",] IMDB database. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] [Perry, Michele P. [http://www-tech.mit.edu/V110/N41/hms.41a.html "Light-hearted, happy entertainment from "HMS Pinafore",] "The Tech", Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 12 October 1990. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] and in "" (1998), Captain Picard and Lt. Commander Worf sing part of "A British Tar" to distract a malfunctioning Lt. Commander Data. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120844/soundtrack Track listing for "Star Trek: Insurrection",] IMDB database. Retrieved on 18 July 2008] The soundtrack of the 1992 thriller "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" prominently features songs from "Pinafore". [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104389/soundtrack Track listing for "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle",] IMDB database. Retrieved on 27 August 2008] There was also a 1976 film called "Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done". [Smith, Winfield. [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/deadeye_the_movie "Dick Deadeye: The Movie",] "Precious Nonsense", Issue 4 (September 1985)] [Smith, Winfield. [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/dick_deadeye_movie "Dick Deadeye, or Duty Done" - further information,] "Precious Nonsense", Issue 30 (May 1991)]

;Television referencesAmong notable examples of songs from "Pinafore" used in television shows is the "Cape Feare" episode of "The Simpsons", Bart stalls his would-be killer Sideshow Bob with a "final request" that Bob sing him the entire score of "Pinafore". [Arnold, p. 16; Bradley (2005), p. 14] Similarly, the "HMS Yakko" episode of "Animaniacs" consists of pastiches of songs from "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "The Pirates of Penzance". [Arbuckle, Ian [http://www.chud.com/articles/articles/7207/1/DVD-REVIEW-ANIMANIACS---VOLUME-ONE/Page1.html DVD Review: Animaniacs - Volume 1] , Chud.com. Retrieved on 5 August 2008] In a "Family Guy" episode, "The Thin White Line" (2001), Stewie sings a pastiche of "My gallant crew". [ [http://www.planet-familyguy.com/pfg/?s=episodes&id=32 "Episode guide – The Thin White Line",] "Planet Family Guy"] The song "He is an Englishman" is referenced both in the title's name and throughout "The West Wing" episode "And It's Surely To Their Credit". [ [http://www.tv.com/the-west-wing/and-its-surely-to-their-credit/episode/4818/summary.html "The West Wing" episode summary – And It's Surely To Their Credit",] TV.com, CNET Networks, Inc]



*cite book|last=Allen|first=Reginald|year=1979|title=Gilbert and Sullivan in America, The Story of the First D'Oyly Carte Opera Company American Tour|location=New York|publisher=The Pierpont Morgan Library
*cite book|editor=Alberti, John|last=Arnold|first=David L. G.|chapter="Use a pen, Sideshow Bob: "The Simpsons" and the Threat of High Culture|year=2003|publisher=Wayne State University Press|title=Leaving Springfield: The Simpsons and the Possibility of Oppositional Culture|ISBN=0814328490
*cite book|last=Bond|first=Jessie|year=1930|title=The Life and Reminiscences of Jessie Bond, the Old Savoyard (as told to Ethel MacGeorge)|location=London|publisher=John Lane, The Bodley Head
*Bordman, Gerald. "American Operetta: From H. M. S. Pinafore to Sweeney Todd" Oxford University Press, 1981.
*cite book|last=Bradley|first=Ian|authorlink=Ian Bradley|year=1996|title=The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan|location=Oxford, England|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn = 019816503X
*cite book|last=Bradley|first=Ian|authorlink=Ian Bradley|year=2005|title=Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!: The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan|location=Oxford, England|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn = 0195167007
*cite book|last=Gänzl|first=Kurt|year=1986|title=The British Musical Theatre—Volume I, 1865–1914|location=Oxford|publisher=Oxford University Press
*Gänzl, Kurt. "Gänzl's Book of the Broadway Musical: 75 Favorite Shows, from H.M.S. Pinafore to Sunset Boulevard", 1995 Schirmer/Simon & Schuster ISBN 0028708326
*Lamb, Andrew. "From Pinafore to Porter: United States-United Kingdom Interactions in Musical Theater, 1879-1929" in "American Music", Vol. 4, No. 1, British-American Musical Interactions (Spring, 1986), pp. 34-49 University of Illinois Press.
*cite book|last=Rollins|first=Cyril|year=1962|coauthors=R. John Witts|title=The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas: A Record of Productions, 1875–1961|location=London|publisher=Michael Joseph Also, five supplements, privately printed.
*cite book|last=Gilbert|first=W.S.|year=1879|title=H.M.S. Pinafore - Libretto|location=London|publisher=Bacon & company This libretto [http://books.google.com/books?id=fKMNAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA1#PPA1,M1 is available online here.]

External links

* [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/html/pinafore_home.html "H.M.S. Pinafore" at The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive]
* [http://www.concentric.net/~Oakapple/gasdisc/pin.htm "H.M.S. Pinafore" at The Gilbert & Sullivan Discography]
* [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-opcom.html Account of the "Fracas at the Opera Comique" in 1879]
* [http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas/pinafore/html/lost.html Lost "Pinafore" Song Found]
* [http://www2.cruzio.com/~keeper/00.html#7 Lyrics] of the "Animaniacs" episode parodying "H.M.S. Pinafore"
* [http://math.boisestate.edu/gas/whowaswho/index.htm Site containing biographies of the people listed in the historical casting chart]
* [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchresult.cfm?parent_id=522913&word= Numerous photos of "Pinafore"]
* [http://www.amiright.com/parody/performers/g/gilbertsullivan.shtml Page linking to numerous "Pinafore" song parodies]
* [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-longr.html List of longest running London shows]

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