“I’ll be true to the song I sing,
and live and die a Pirate King.”

The Pirates of Penzance

is presented by The Fifth Commandment Fund

Performed in English

Friday, October 21, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Performed at the Magnificent Tennessee Theatre

Opera preview hosted by Maestro Salesky begins 45 minutes prior to each performance
All students are invited to take photos with the cast on the set after the final curtain.


Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic classic is packed full of sentimental pirates, blundering police, and improbable paradoxes.
Join the band of swashbuckling buccaneers, bumbling British Bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightful
“model of a modern Major-General” for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall.

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, The Elixir of Love, and last season’s Mefistofele. 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


Robert Orth (Major General Stanley)

Birthplace: Chicago. Illinois
Foreign Opera Companies: Royal Albert Hall (London), Canadian Opera (Toronto), Vancouver Opera
Foreign Orchestra and Festival: Berlin Philharmonic; Festival Mediterraneo (Rome)
U.S. Opera Companies: (Knoxville Opera Die Fledermaus), San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Portland Opera, Opera Colorado, Miami Opera, New York City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Parallele (San Francisco), Skylight Opera (Milwaukee), Mill City Summer Opera (Minneapolis)
U.S. Orchestras: Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Washington National Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Phoenix Symphony
Opera CDs: Nixon in China, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Harvey Milk, Dead Man Walking, Hänsel und Gretel, Shining Brow, The Grapes of Wrath, Brief Encounter, The Inspector, After Life, The Telephone
Opera DVDs: Candide, Moby-Dick, The Makropulos Case, Death and the Powers, La Traviata
Website: www.RobertOrth.com


Sean Anderson (The Pirate King)

Birthplace: New York, New York
Foreign Opera Company: Opera Theatre of Lucca
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera (Die Fledermaus, The Elixir of Love, H.M.S. Pinafore), Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème on Broadway, 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
U.S. Festival: Princeton Opera
Website: www.SeanDavidAnderson.com


Claire Coolen (Mabel)

Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada)
Foreign Opera Companies: Banff Opera Theatre (Alberta), Belgrade Opera Theatre (Serbia)
Foreign Orchestra and Festival: Hamilton Philharmonic (Ontario); Siena Music Festival (Italy)
U.S. Opera Companies: Sarasota Opera, Tampa Opera, Manhattan School of Music Opera, Martina Arroyo Foundation Opera
U.S. Festival: International Festival of the Arts and Ideas (Yale University)
Movie: The Bohemians


Joshua Kohl (Frederic)

Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera (The Elixir of Love, H.M.S. Pinafore), Seattle Opera, 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, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, , Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Tulsa Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Lake George Opera/Opera Saratoga, Opera Delaware, Opera North, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Opera Southwest, Commonwealth Opera, Ohio Light Opera , Baltimore Concert Opera
U.S. Orchestras: Rhode Island Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, New Haven Symphony, South Dakota symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, New Jersey Festival Orchestra
Website: www.JoshuaKohlTenor.com


Jenni Bank (Ruth)

Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Foreign Orchestras: BBC Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Filharmoniske
U.S. Opera Companies: Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Florentine Opera (Milwaukee), Wolf Trap Opera, Tri-Cities Opera (NY), Amarillo Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera in the Heights (TX)
U.S. Orchestras: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Alabama Symphony
Website: www.JenniBank.com


Andrew Wentzel (Police Sergeant)

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: Knoxville Opera (Don Giovanni, La Cenerentola, La Bohème, La Forza del Destino, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roméo et Juliette, H.M.S. Pinafore), 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
U.S. Orchestras & Festivals: Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Memphis Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Pacific Symphony; Berkshire Choral Festival, Choral Arts Society (D.C.), Virginia Arts Festival

Plot Synopsis

Act I:

On February 29, 1880 (maybe!), a gang of Pirates led by their “King” celebrate the birthday of their apprentice Frederic on the coast of Cornwall, England.  He reminds them that his obligation is finished, since he was apprenticed only until his 21st birthday.  The pirate maid Ruth, who had been Frederic’s nursery maid, explains that the boy should never have been left with them: thanks to her failing ears, she had placed Frederic with a pirate, instead of a pilot!  Frederic admits he is a “slave of duty” and that when he quits them he intends to destroy them, not because he doesn’t love them, but because he loathes what they do.  Frederic further explains that their lack of pirating success is due to their soft-heartedness: having sworn never to victimize orphans, everyone they catch, of course, claims to be one.  Ruth is determined to stay with Frederic, even to wed him.  Since he has spent his entire life with the Pirates, completely deprived of knowing any other woman, the innocent—and gullible—boy accepts Ruth despite their difference in age.  However, just as Frederic promises his hand, he hears a chorus of girls nearby.  Upon seeing their beauty, his understanding of female pulchritude is shattered, and he realizes that Ruth has not been completely forthcoming about her own “assets.”  Frederic drops Ruth, the girls enter, and Frederic confesses his profession.  The girls are terribly intimated by the strapping boy…all but Mabel, who falls in love with Frederic instantly.  Pirates sneak up onto the beach and grab a girl.  Major-General Stanley enters, identifies himself as the girls’ father, and the Pirate King tells him that they have eyes for his daughters.  Stanley objects and, knowing the Pirates’ reputation, claims he is an orphan, thus, disarming them.  Accompanied by Frederic he escorts his daughters back to the family estate.  The disappointed Pirates—and a frustrated Ruth—are left behind.

Act II:

The Major-General (who is actually no orphan) sits alone in the ruined chapel of Tremorden Castle, regretting the lie he had earlier told the Pirates.  Meanwhile, Frederic hatches a plan to lead a squad of inept Police against his old gang.  Before he can act, however, the Pirate King and Ruth arrive to tell him that he is still obligated to the Pirates:  Because Frederic was born on February 29 of a leap year, he has technically served only five years, not the 21 required by his contract.  A strong sense of duty forces Frederic to relent, and, because he is once again a member of the Pirates, he must also reveal the truth that Major-General Stanley is not an orphan.  The Pirate King vows that he will have revenge on the Major-General for this shameful duplicity.  Mabel begs Frederic not to return to the Pirates, but he reluctantly and dutifully ignores her pleas.  The Police try to bolster their sagging courage about attacking the Pirates, who ultimately manage to capture the Major-General, his daughters, and even the pitiful Police.  However, when Ruth divulges that the Pirates are, in fact, noblemen who swear their allegiance to the Queen, the tables are turned—and the Pirates are compelled to surrender to the Police.  Because the Pirates are loyal—and royal—British subjects, they are forgiven.  The Major-General’s daughters take their pick of ex-Pirates and Police, Frederic wins Mabel, Ruth gets her own man, and everyone lives happily ever after!