OSWEGO – The fall production of the Oswego Opera Theater will be âHMS Pinafore; or, The Lass that Loved a Sailor â, an operetta written by Gilbert & Sullivan. Juan Francisco LaManna, artistic director of the company, will lead the artists’ performance on November 6 and 7 at the Waterman Theater on the SUNY Oswego campus.
Originally scheduled a year ago in November 2020, it was canceled due to the virus. Instead, the company opted for two virtual performances last season. As the world begins to enter a kind of normalcy, the performing arts are emerging. What better way to celebrate than to attend an operetta performance of Gilbert and Sullivans with its humorous plot full of romantic associations, character confusions and satire on class distinctions and rigid British institutions, especially the Marine. Arthur Sullivan’s music can only be described as delicious, melodious and memorable.
Oswego audiences have long had a love affair with this operetta. “Pinafore” was completed in 1878 and first performed in England on May 25 of the same year. He made his Oswego debut with the Saville troupe of England on February 19, 1879 at the Academy of Music, just five months after the British premiere. This was the first of five performances in Oswego during this year. The following month, March 24, the Pinafore Company of the Standard Theater of NYC put on a performance comparable to that of the Saville troupe. Shortly thereafter, on July 9 and 10, “Pinafore” was presented by local talent – Oswego’s most prominent singers, a large choir of 46 singers, and a fine orchestra (Fred Seymour’s Orchestra of Watertown).
It was reported in June that many people gathered on West Bridge Street to listen to rehearsals for “Pinafore”. New and stylish costumes were showcased, and it was declared to be a big hit. The last two of the five performances of 1879 were sung by the Juvenile Opera Company of Lehnen, composed of 50 children, a large choir and a full orchestra. Both performed in big houses. As was typical of the 19th century, minstrel shows often made parodies of operas and classical music in general, and at least two companies did so from “Pinafore” in 1879.
âPinafore started a craze for Gilbert & Sullivan operettas across the United States. Many versions have been hacked; in other words, there were unauthorized edits. To prevent this from happening with their next operettas, Gilbert & Sullivan have formed troops to perform their next opera, “The Pirates of Penznce”, in an authentic way. “Pirates” was appreciated by the Oswegonians on March 1, 1880. But “Pinafore” continued to be given regularly by local groups, such as the priory of Saint Paul’s Church, in the late 19th century and well beyond. and its freshness still attracts modern audiences. When the Oswego Opera Theater was founded in 1979, its first full opera house was âPinaforeâ. He has since directed other G&S operettas – “Trial by Jury” in 1981, “Pirates of Penzance” in 2001, and “The Mikado” in 2017.
In the current production, the singers are from New York, central New York and Oswego. The director will be Benjamin Spierman of New York, who has served as such for several previous operas. Due to COVID restrictions, choir numbers will be sung by a sextet. An orchestra will perform throughout the evening. The Oswego Opera Theater is the recipient of a Community Arts Grant from CNY Arts.
“HMS Pinafore” will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday November 6 and at 3 p.m. on Sunday November 7. The Saturday night performance will also be available live. For ticket information and more about the organization, visit the website at www.oswegooperatheater.com. The prices are: $ 20 for general admission, $ 15 for seniors and $ 10 for students.