I was raised on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas -- at least, my mother regularly borrowed records of them from our very well-stocked library, along with the classical symphonies and operas she insisted her children must prefer. These operettas, with lively memorable tunes and lyrics, we had to concede -- once my mother had parsed them for us, pointing out the silliness of the puns, the allusions she found hilarious, the tongue-tripping richness of rhyme -- were indeed funny. Not Warner Bros. cartoons funny, but compared to that Verdi she'd played us the week before? Pretty damn side-splitting.
Although my parents creatively squeezed the budget of a very large family to include opera tickets for their "date nights" by the time I was in my early double-digits, I doubt they would often have seen the VOA stage any G&S. I do vaguely remember watching some amateur performances through the years -- Pinafore, once, I think, and also Pirates. And while purists might grumble that any opera company worth its salt should continue to stay away from this lighter fare, I applaud the VOA's commitment to showing more Vancouverites the delights of opera. Saturday night's seats were packed, and the responses were enthusiastic. Such a positive experience can only tempt novices to this art form to try something a little more chewy next time.
What would newbies have found to like in this production? Well, a rollicking stage set, right out of a children's pop-up picture book, sailing ship and all; A pirate crew in colourful costume, including a dashing Pirate King in leather pants (which he wore very well indeed!); Satire: the pratfalls of the fearful but determined-to-be-brave policement; Drama: a comically entangled plot, a foolish father protecting his bevy of maiden daughters, a potentially thwarted romance . . . . And voices! Harmonies and melodies and energetic rhythms sung by fabulous voices (we were especially impressed by baritone Giles Tomkins' Sergeant of Police) and supported by great work from the orchestra pit. You'll definitely wake up with an earworm or two the next day! In fact, click on the VOA's TV ad (Youtube video) above, and you might feel one slide into your auditory canal right now!
So with all this piracy, something a bit colourful seemed in order sartorially, last Saturday night. . . .
These Fluevog boots don't get out enough, and this seemed the perfect occasion for them. Normally, I'd pair them with something simple, following Imogen's advice of sticking to one "hero piece" per outfit. But for a Pirate operetta? No restraint necessary, right?
Well, okay, I did tone it down a bit by sticking to a simple navy v-neck on top (this Eric Bompard continues to punch far above its weight, CPW-wise!). The spot above my right breast there
I dreamed about for weeks before buying on sale several years ago. I love it, but generally follow Imogen's rule and wear it with caution. Here I decided to let it enjoy slightly more raucous company than usual -- and we all had a very enjoyable evening. . . .
And you can too, if you're in Vancouver and can manage to get to one of the three remaining performances. If not, you could find yourself a Pirates tune or two on Youtube and see what you think. Aargh? Aargh!
In case you're wondering, no, I get nothing from Vancouver Opera for singing their praises. We've been Season Subscribers for quite a few years now, and I simply admire the work they're doing and would love more people to know about it.
UPDATED TO ADD: I'm linking this post to Patti's Visible Monday -- sadly, VOA played its last Pirates yesterday (my 20-year-old rock-star nephew took his Granny, my mom, and they both loved it!). But you can still check out all the splendidly dressed Visible women rocking their look at Not Dead Yet Style.