The 1986 UMGASS Pirates

Major-GeneralJohn Alexander
Pirate KingDavid Keosaian
SamuelLarry Garvin
JamesJames Newton
FredericJeffrey Willets
SergeantBeverley J. Pooley
MabelJane Schoonmaker-Rodgers
EdithMaureen T. Kirkwood
KateJane D. McLeod
IsabelLynn Tousey
RuthBarbara Hilbish

Director: Steven Krahnke
Conductor: Francis Cianfrocca

Sounds on CD VGS 231
Sounds on CD VGS 231

During the 1970s, and through the mid-1980s, the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society (UMGASS) issued many of its performances on LP records, and later cassettes. Most of these recordings are not in the scope of this website, as they generally were purchased only by cast members and local fans. Pirates is one of two that Sounds on CD has re-issued.

Here is what CD producer Chris Webster had to say about the recording:

While I was working on the 1973 UMGASS Grand Duke, it came to my attention that the UMGASS archive contains many fine live recordings of their stage performances, and so in addition to their studio Duke I am really happy to be launching a series of these live recordings with a smashing 1986 performance of Pirates.

When I first heard this I was bowled over by the sheer energy of the live atmosphere, the talents of the performers and the musicians and also by the enormous enthusiasm of the audience. This is what G&S is all about! This performance happily captures the zip of Papp's Pirates, while remaining faithful to a more traditional style of performance. There are many fine studio recordings of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas but few of them have captured the fun and atmosphere of a live performance as this recording has.

Although it is regrettable that fluffs should be present in a recording, I feel that, for the reasons raised above, this recording will still be a source of much pleasure.

This recording uniquely incorporates Gilbert's long deleted chorus from the Lord Chamberlain's license copy of the libretto, "With timid step and watchful eye," to a setting by UMGASS MD Francis Cianfrocca, Sullivan's original music having been lost or perhaps never composed. Also, the deleted character "James" is reintroduced. [James takes about half of the material Gilbert allotted to Samuel. —ed.]

This recording includes the late Bev Pooley who was a particular favourite with UMGASS audiences. Bev was a terrific G&S performer who normally played the patter roles but who, on this occasion, plays a wonderful Sergeant of Police (even giving us an encore of 'A Policeman's lot' in Latin). With my hand on my heart, I can honestly say that when I heard recordings of Bev as Bunthorne and Jack Point I honestly felt as though I was listening to one of the best performers of these roles that I was ever likely to hear.

Issue History
1986 LP UMGASS [unnumbered]
2001 CD Sounds on CD VGS 231