Opera Providence has come a long way in the last five years, and their June major season production of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s comic opera, “The Pirates of Penzance,” promises to showcase that progress. Running June 14, 15 and 21 at 8 p.m. and June 23 at 3 p.m. at the recently restored Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, the fully staged performances will feature a highly professional cast working under Nathaniel Merchant, stage director, and Renee de la Garza, artistic director.
“Five years ago, you wouldn’t have imagined OP putting on something this big, this beautiful and this professionally sung with showmanship and stagecraft and heart,” says Robert DeRobbio, president of Opera Providence’s board. “For the most part this farce is a madcap ballet of Victorian characters, props and set pieces zipping on, around and off the stage, giving a relentless momentum to the playfully jabbing social satire. But there are also moments of tenderness, poignant romance and wry humor.”
The two-act opera centers on a love story between Frederic, celebrating the end of his pirate apprenticeship upon reaching the age of 21, and Mabel, the tender-hearted daughter of the pompous Major-General Stanley. Internationally acclaimed soprano Julianne Gearhart is the blushing Mabel, wooed by tenor Joshua Collier as the dutiful young Frederic, who believes as a reformed citizen he must now bring the pirates to justice. As in all good farce, waves of complications ensue, including a twist in Frederic’s contract and circumstances that means he must remain with the pirates for another 63 years. Is his romance doomed?
The accomplished cast also features bass-baritone Ryne Cherry as the honorably roguish Pirate King; comic baritone Andy Papas as Major-General Stanley; mezzo-sopranos Arielle Rogers (Kate) and Kristen Charpentier (Edith) as Mabel’s flirtatious sisters; and Boston-based contralto Ana Maria Ugarte as the bawdy pirate maid Ruth.
Tickets are $35 and $60 per person. For more information or to order call the Opera Providence Office at 331-6060. Information on Opera Providence is also available on the website www.operaprovidence.org.