The other day I was watching a few episodes of West Wing, probably one of my favorite shows ever, though of course, nothing tops M.A.S.H, when I ran across one of the first episodes with the character Ainsley Hayes, played by Emily Procter (probably better known as Calleigh Duquesne on CSI: Miami).
In this episode, she moves into her basement office at the White House, and has a not-so-great first day. Throughout the episode, however, several references are made to Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.
“It’s from Penzance or Iolanthe, one of the ones about duty.”
“They’re all about duty.”
“Were you the recording secretary of the Princeton Gilbert and Sullivan Society for two years?”
He is an Englishman!
I saw H.M.S. Pinafore for the first time (ever) last June with the Opera Columbus and though I haven’t yet seen Pirates of Penzance, I look forward to seeing it next March. In the meantime, I just won’t pass up an opportunity to tie Gilbert and Sullivan to a Sci Fi movie or great political drama!
It’s my duty!
Last June at the Columbus Arts Festival, we handed out packets of forget-me-not seeds at the Columbus Festival for Opera Columbus, which shared a booth with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Thanks very much to my friend, Betsy, for allowing me to use this picture of her forget-me-nots that she planted after the festival.
The Opera Columbus is performing some great operas this coming up season including another Gilbert and Sullivan light opera: The Pirates of Penzance, which I fully plan to see next spring. HMS Pinafore this past June was so much fun!
You can learn more about Opera Columbus at their official website, so I invite you to take a look!
Even in the strangest of places, classical music seems to find its way into a variety of settings. Listen to any original music movie soundtrack and there’s a good chance you’ll hear some. Whether it’s an original composition, something we’d now call 21st-century classical or even a quote of some earlier piece, such as the quoting of Beethoven’s Sonata Pathéthique in Billy Joel’s song, “This Night” from his 1983 album, “An Innocent Man,” classical music seems to find its way into the music we hear every day.
In my first-ever outing to the Opera Columbus this weekend, I saw my first-ever Gilbert & Sullivan opera: HMS Pinafore. It was so much fun! I’d never even heard any of the songs before excepting a piece of one song back in 1998 in the movie Star Trek: Insurrection. The only time I’d ever been exposed to any music from HMS Pinafore was during an early scene when Captain Picard started singing, “A British Tar.” Watch this video, you’ll laugh out loud about 25 seconds in!
Even in Star Trek, they have the bouncing ball over the lyrics! The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players joined the Opera Columbus in this past weekend’s performances with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s accompanying the entire production. Performed in the acoustically-awesome Southern Theatre, it put on three performances that each had the audience in stitches – laughing out loud in many places throughout the opera.
Now I can’t be 100% sure, but there seemed to be a couple of places where they went a little off script – such as when the captain promised Jeni’s Ice Cream for his entire crew or the time when Sir Joseph asked the Captain where they were (They’d had a bit of wine in the last scene!) and the Captain responded “I don’t know, somewhere in Ohio.” “Ohhh” “Yeah – O – H!” (Audience: “I – O”) Nice to get a bit of audience participation in there! Finally he said “He thought he had a little ‘buck in his eye’” and suggested they get back on script! Maybe I’m wrong but it’s entirely possible Gilbert & Sullivan originally had references to the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University but edited them out at the last moment before its first performance in 1878. Hey – OSU was founded in 1870, so anything’s possible, right?
No? OK. Fine.
Opera Columbus has a great season planned for next year including The Merry Widow, Madama Butterfly, another Gilbert & Sullivan opera: The Pirates of Penzance and with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Carmen in Concert. I definitely want to see Pirates of Penzance. I hope to see you there!