“Give three cheers and one cheer more” for
Gilbert & Sullivan
A boatload of sisters, cousins, and aunts
A Little Buttercup
The uproarious Monarch of the Sea!
From the brilliant team of Gilbert & Sullivan comes this timeless maritime classic! Millions of fans have flocked to this lampoon of the British class system, poking fun at party politics, the Royal Navy, and buffoons in positions of authority. You’ll be humming Pinafore’s ever-popular songs along with an all-star cast of G&S veterans led by audience favorite Sean Anderson.
Bring the entire family to this beloved operetta filled with clever wordplay and rollicking comedy!
Performed in English
click here for a condensed version of the playbill including performers, glossary, and synopsis
This just in……If you would like to attend one of our performances but don’t have anyone to go with you, join our Facebook group: Sempre Opera Society! S.O.S. is an opera-loving group that will meet for dinner and drinks prior to performances and sit together during the show. Join us on Facebook for more information.
Meet the Director!
BRIAN DEEDRICK (Stage Director)
Knoxville Opera is delighted to welcome back international stage director BRIAN DEEDRICK following his very successful Knoxville productions of Die Fledermaus and The Elixir of Love. As a freelance opera and theatre director, his work takes him all over Canada and the United States, with occasional forays as far afield as Casalmaggiore, Italy and Tel Aviv. During his years as Artistic Director of Edmonton Opera, some of his favorite productions there include Fidelio, Otello, Julius Caesar, Falstaff, Weill in Weimar, The Emperor of Atlantis, The Abduction from the Seraglio and South Pacific. Selected freelance opera credits have included Turandot and Aïda for Fort Worth Opera, Don Giovanni for Austin Lyric Opera, Otello and La Bohème for L’Opéra de Québec, Eugene Onegin and Tosca for Opera Carolina, The Flying Dutchman for Baltimore Opera, L’Elisir d’amore and The Pearl Fishers for Arizona Opera and The Merry Widow and Don Pasquale in Honolulu. Mr. Deedrick’s most recent projects have included La Bohème in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Candide in Edmonton. Upcoming productions include The Threepenny Opera for Studio Theatre, Lucia di Lammermoor for Edmonton Opera, Dead Man Walking for Opera Nuova, and Aïda for Austin Lyric Opera. When not directing, the Canadian native works as a city tour guide in Berlin, Germany!
Meet the Cast!
SEAN ANDERSON (Captain Corcoran)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Foreign Opera Companies: Opera Theatre of Lucca
U.S. Opera Companies: Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème on Broadway, Knoxville Opera, Sarasota Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Columbus, Chautauqua Opera, Opera New Jersey, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Opera Delaware, Opera Southwest, Intermountain Opera (Montana), Di Capo Opera , Ohio Light Opera
STEVEN CONDY (Sir Joseph Porter)
Birthplace: Plainview, New York
Foreign Opera Companies: Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa
Foreign Orchestras and Festivals: Spoleto Festival, Orquesta del Principado de Asturias (Spain), Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes (Mexico)
U.S. Opera Companies: San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Portland Opera, Opera Pacific, Hawaii Opera Theater, Arizona Opera, Utah Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Memphis, Florentine Opera, Opera New Jersey, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Sarasota Opera, Madison Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Toledo Opera, Shreveport Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Delaware, Kentucky Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Berkshire Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Naples Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera on the James, Intermountain Opera (Montana)
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Albuquerque Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Columbus Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, Crested Butte Music Festival, Oklahoma Mozart International Festival, Pine Mountain Music Festival
LORRAINE DISIMONE (Little Buttercup)
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York
Foreign Opera Companies: Theater Augsburg, Theater Ulm, Prague State Opera, Lirico Sperimentale (Spoleto, Italy)
Foreign Orchestras: Bayerische Rundfunk Chamber Orchestra, La Fenice Chamber Orchestra (Venice) , Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Augsburg Philharmonic
U.S. Opera Companies: Boston Lyric, Opera Boston, Knoxville Opera, Glimmerglass (NY), Des Moines Metro, Sarasota Opera, DiCapo Opera, New England Lyric Operetta, Texas Opera Theater, New York Grand, Chautauqua, Opera Idaho, Center for Contemporary Opera
U.S. Orchestras & Festivals: New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva, Boston Baroque, Knoxville Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Boston Modern Orchestras, Lincoln Center Outdoors, Berkshire Choral FestivaL
ANDREW WENTZEL (Dick Deadeye)
Birthplace: Mishawaka, Indiana
Foreign Opera Companies: Spoleto Festival (Italy), Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera
Foreign Orchestras: Tokyo Symphony, L’orchestre de Montréal, Jerusalem Philharmonic, National Orchestra of India
U.S. Opera Companies: Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera, Minnesota Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Knoxville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Columbus Opera, Boston Lyric Opera
JOSHUA KOHL (Ralph Rackstraw)
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania
U.S. Opera Companies: Dallas Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Utah Opera, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Nashville Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Sarasota Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Tulsa Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Connecticut, Lake George Opera/Opera Saratoga, Opera North, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Opera Southwest, Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Commonwealth Opera, Ohio Light Opera
U.S. Orchestras: New Jersey Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic
DONATA CUCINOTTA (Josephine)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
U.S. Opera Companies: Opera Colorado, Shreveport Opera, Opera New Jersey, Opera Tampa, Amarillo Opera, Opera Fort Collins, New York Lyric Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn (NYC), New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Louisiana, GLOW Lyric Theater
U.S. Symphony Orchestras and Festivals: Queens Symphony Orchestra (NYC); Summer Choralfest (Denver), Belleayre Music Festival (NY)
PETER JOHNSON (Boatswain)
Birthplace: Saint James, Minnesota
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera, Nashville Opera, University of Tennessee, Fargo-Moorhead Opera
U.S. Orchestras: Concordia College Orchestra (MN)
U.S. Festivals: Brevard Music Center (NC), Pine Mountain Music Festival (MI)
SARAH FITCH (Hebe)
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, University of Tennessee, University of North Texas
U.S. Orchestra: University of North Texas Symphony
Noon on the Quarterdeck of the British warship H.M.S. Pinafore at anchor off Portsmouth, England, 1840.
Sailors ready the decks for the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter, Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty. Little Buttercup, a peddler, comes aboard to sell her wares. Seaman Ralph tells his mates that he is in love with Captain Corcoran’s daughter, Josephine, who has been promised to Sir Joseph. Dick Deadeye reminds the starry-eyed sailor that captains’ daughters don’t marry foremast hands! Although Josephine is being courted by Sir Joseph, she is secretly in love with Ralph. Buttercup reveals a romantic interest in the Captain and harbors a secret about Corcoran and Ralph. Sir Joseph arrives, accompanied by his entourage of female relatives, including his cousin Hebe. He explains in detail his rise to high rank and then presents the crew with a song that he himself has composed to encourage “independence of thought and action in the lower branches” of the Navy. Sir Joseph and Corcoran retire to discuss the proposed marriage. Ralph finds Josephine alone and declares his love for her and his willingness to try to fit in with middle-class society. She rejects his love, although his simple eloquence goes to her heart. When Ralph threatens suicide, she relents and declares her love for him. With the crew and the sisters, cousins and aunts assisting, the lovers plot to elope that very night. Dick Deadeye warns the pair of the impropriety of their plan, but he is forced to retreat.
Later that night.
Captain Corcoran sings to the moon of his troubles. Little Buttercup comes to him and reveals her affections. He tells her that because of his rank he can never be more to her than a friend, but she hints darkly that a change is in store for him. Sir Joseph returns, complaining that Josephine does not wish to marry him. Corcoran comforts him by theorizing that she is intimidated by his lofty station and suggests that he plead his case on the ground that “love levels all ranks.” When Josephine hears this plea, she considers how eloquently Sir Joseph has stated the justification for her to marry Ralph. Dick Deadeye finds Corcoran and reveals the planned elopement. Corcoran confronts the elopers and is so exasperated that he swears “Damme!” Hearing this, Sir Joseph orders him to go to his cabin. Upon inquiry, Sir Joseph finds out that Ralph and Josephine love one another and orders the presumptuous sailor to the brig. Affairs are interrupted by Buttercup, who discloses her long-concealed secret: as their foster mother, she exchanged Corcoran’s and Ralph’s identities and therefore their social status while they were babies. Sir Joseph sends for Ralph (who immediately becomes Captain) and Corcoran (who is now demoted to the rank of a humble sailor). Since it is out of the question for Sir Joseph to marry the daughter of a mere sailor, his Lordship consents to the marriage of Ralph and Josephine. Corcoran is now free to marry Buttercup (his former nanny!), and Sir Joseph decides to marry Hebe (his cousin!). Leaving reason aside, all ends with “joy and rapture!”