Di Yam Gazlonim (2002)

Groyser GeneralMurray Nesbitt
Arthur Goldstein
Groyser GazlenBob Tartell
ShmuelNeil Powers
Al Grand
FayvlAl Barouch
Jake Feldman
Police SergeantMarty Geller
MalkeArlene Kane
Kathleen Berger
RivkeRachael Kinsky
Roz Gertz
YehudisLaura Schneider
Phyllis Foreman
KhayeEvelyn Robb
Hope Saravis

The Gilbert & Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera Company

Book Adaptation and Yiddish Lyrics by Al Grand

Producer: Martin Geller
Director: Georgia McGill

CD Cover
Cover Illustration by Ray Sherman

This is one of three recordings by the Long Island-based Yiddish Light Opera Company, which has performed G&S operas in Yiddish everywhere from Florida to Toronto to London. (See also Der Yiddisher Pinafore, and Der Yiddisher Mikado.) The production is not a literal translation, but a free adaptation. (The Nightmare Song from Iolanthe is interpolated.)

The CD insert summarizes the plot as follows:

Fayvl's nursemaid, Rivke, has Fayvl apprenticed to a group of bearded men whom she mistakenly thinks are rabbis (rabonim), but they turn out to be pirates (gazlonim).

When Fayvl turns 21, he tells the pirates that he is about to leave their band. Rivke, who is old enough to be his mother, asks that he take her with him and make her his wife. Fayvl, who has never seen any other women, is about to accept when he suddenly discovers a group of beautiful girls. They are the daughters of Der Groyser General. Fayvl angrily rejects Rivke and falls in love with Malke, one of the daughters.

The gazlonim reappear and seize the girls. They want to marry the girls at once but their father, Der Groyser General, arrives. He tells the gazlonim a terrible lie, i.e., that he is an orphan. The gazlonim feel sorry for him and release his daughters.

Fayvl soon learns that the General is no orphan, and he tells the gazlonim of the General's deception. The gazlonim decide to punish Der Groyser General for lying. They battle with the police and beat them to the ground. The police sergeant charges the pirates to throw down their swords in the name of Der Lubavitcher Rebbe! Upon hearing this, the gazlonim yield and start to kneel, but Rivke suddenly makes a startling announcement: "They are not really pirates, but they are all noblemen who have gone wrong!"

The play ends in general rejoicing as Der Groyser General says to the former pirates, "Take my daughters!" and they each take a daughter and dance off happily.

The adaptation is by Al Grand, who alerted me to this admiring tribute by no other than Isaac Asimov.

You can order this recording (on CD) from the G&S Yiddish Light Opera Company's website.

Yiddish Pirates Poster
Issue History
2002 [none] CD [none]