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Pirates premieres with praise

By Joe Carriere
On October 26, 2011

Xavier's Music and Performing

Arts departments performed Gilbert

and Sullivan's comic opera Pirates of

Penzance Oct. 21-23 for audiences

of both students and visiting family

members. Since the show will be performed

again on November 4 and 5,

here is a review to tell you what to expect

and why you should go see the show.Don't let the show's designation of

"comic opera" stop you from going; it's much more like a musical than a fivehour ordeal with fat ladies in horned helmets singing in foreign languages. The show is a reasonable two hours long, with plenty of comedy to keep the audience engaged. Some of the jokes are hard to

catch because they were written for a late-nineteenth-century audience, but there are still a lot of laughs to be had

from clever wordplay, the melodrama and haplessness of the characters and misunderstandings regarding leap year

birthdays and orphans. The show has plenty of good

music, with a strong score and even stronger lead vocals. Xavier's own Symphony Orchestra—along with a couple of professionals—do a good job of bringing the bright,

upbeat score to life, but the real strength of the performance lies with the leads. J.J. Long is excellent

as Frederic, wooing the ladies both on the stage and in the audience with a voice ranging from powerful to tender, and Catalina Briola is brilliant as Frederic's love interest Mabel, singing the cadenzas and high notes with style. Paul

Hogue plays a perfectly pretentious Major-General, handling his character's large lyrical vocabulary with "elegant diction," and Chris Razor also stands out as the Pirate King, with a deep, formidable voice to fit the part.

Not only is the music well done, but the sets are phenomenal. The rocks and sky in the first act look realistic, and the castle ruins in the second act tower over the stage, look like they were ripped from an old cathedral.

Pirates of Penzance, as Long said in an earlier interview, is "sort of like Pirates of the Caribbean, but the pirates are horrible at what they do." The performers, however, are

not horrible at what t hey do, and any missteps in the performance were too small to merit concern in this review. Check out Pirates of Penzance and see how—with a

good cast and crew—an old show can age well. Upcoming performance dates are at 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 1 p.m

and 8 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Gallagher Student Center theater.

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