Performances are July 13-15, 20-21

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Thursday, June 14, 2012
1879 poster for HSM Pinafore
Restored version of an 1879 woodblock print from the Library of Congress Theatrical Poster Collection (source:

Class warfare. Party politics. Forbidden love. It’s not another scandal out of Washington, D.C., but the timeless comedy of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s first international hit, H.M.S Pinafore.

The University of Iowa Opera Theater production of H.M.S. Pinafore will dock at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts July 13-15, and the following weekend, July 20-21, the production will be presented at the Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.

The UI production is directed by Department of Theatre Arts faculty member John Cameron, and the orchestra is conducted by WilliamLaRueJones, director of the UI Symphony Orchestra.

H.M.S. Pinafore has been immensely popular since it was first performed in 1878 at the Opera Comique in London, where it ran for 571 performances, making it the second-longest run of any musical theater piece up until that time.

It includes “We Sail the Ocean Blue,” “I’m Called Little Buttercup,” “For He is an English Man” and other songs that have become part of everyone’s musical memory bank, as well popular quotations including the exchange: “What, never?” “No, never.” “What, never?” “Well, hardly ever!”

In H.M.S. Pinafore, Captain Corcoran's daughter, Josephine, is due to be betrothed to the First Lord of the Admiralty, but she falls in love with a lowly common sailor under her father's command.

The resulting silly complications lampoon the British class system, and poke good-natured fun at patriotism, party politics, the military, and the rise of unqualified people to authority. And, of course, in typical Gilbert and Sullivan fashion, an improbable surprise disclosure at the end changes everything.

The title of the operetta comically applies to a fearsome naval warship the name of a garment that is both decidedly feminine and also used as an apron for “women’s work.”

Featuring full orchestra, soloists, and chorus, this UI production is sung in English with supertitles projected above the stage.

The Coralville performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 15. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors, $10 for youth and $5 for students with a valid ID. To purchase tickets for these performances through the Hancher box office, and to arrange for accommodations, call 319-335-1160 or 1-800-HANCHER, or purchase online.

Learn more at

The Des Moines performances are 8 p.m. Friday, July 20 and July 21. Tickets are $20-$25 for adults, $16-$20 for seniors (65 and older), and $10-$12 for students/youth 17 and under. To order, visit

The School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts are units of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Des Moines performances are sponsored by the UI Summer Session, Continuing Education and the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center.