The University of Lethbridge Opera Society are having fun with their annual collaboration with the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra as they bring your favourite Gilbert and Sullivan songs to the Southminster United Church, Feb. 2 and 3.
“These are three of the most enduring operas by Gilbert and Sullivan,” said U of L Opera Workshop director Dr. Blaine Hendsbee.
“We open with with Pirates of Penzance and a couple of familiar numbers from that,” he said.
“The second part of the show is The HMS Pinafore, though not the whole two-and-a-half hour opera but enough of it so you get the major plot points. Then it’s the Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan’s fictional Victorian portrayal of Japan — Titipu. It’s a political satire of British society and government under the guise of Japan, because all things Japanese was a huge fad at the time,” he continued.
“They weren’t considered ‘traditional opera,’” he continued, adding their operas remain popular almost 150 years later.
“Gilbert and Sullivan have been on the stage for over 100 years so their works have endured. And there is the social and political satire, which has a lot of relevance today. People got to laugh at themselves. It’s a lot of fun. And it is an extremely physical production there is a lot of movement and dancing,” he continued.
“It is also a bigger production than Gilbert and Sullivan productions usually are.”
It is a big production with 35 singers, many double cast for other parts, plus Museaus and a 30 piece orchestra.
The cast wear 80 different elaborate costumes created by Leslie Robison-Green.
He noted the cast is 95 per cent university students plus a few community members. There are three leading ladies and there are a lot of double casted roles.
“There are also three parts for boys aged 11 and 112, so it has been a lot of fun working with them,” he said.
He is looking forward to the shows.
“ I hope people will laugh. The cast is exceptional. There is a lot of joy. I hope people will leave with a lot of joy and feeling happy,” Hendsbee said.
Max Hopkins, who plays Capt. Corocan in the HMS Pinafore is excited to be part of his first U of L Opera workshop and Lethbridge Symphony collaboration.
“I’m just looking forward to being on stage with a great cast acting and singing,” Hopkin said.
“And it is really fun to collaborate with the orchestra.”