Guthrie Theatre Minneapolis production broadcast Oct 14, 2011

PBS Guthrie Theatre HMS Pinafore

HMS Pinafore, Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular and comedic operetta, kicks off the fall season at PBS today.

The satiric comment on British mores for pomp circumstance and class idiocy gets a broad and bawdy performance by the company at the Guthrie Theatre.

I must admit Pinafore is my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with two versions already in the video library.

The production from this summer’s live stage is charming, musical and entertaining.

It’s played a tad slapstick compared with some British productions I’ve seen but why not.

The story is a complex tale of switched children at birth, class snobbery and young love. The lampoon of British society is broad and the jokes flow fast and furious.

It will have you laughing one moment and holding your hanky the next.

How can we miss a chance for great music, love and comedy all together in 90 minutes.

If you missed the first performance today, check your local schedule for the rebroadcast. I set the PVR to watch it again.

The PBS Arts Fall Festival for the fall looks interesting.
• PBS Arts from Seattle: AMERICAN MASTERS “Pearl Jam Twenty,” Oct. 21, 2011
• PBS Arts from Miami: GREAT PERFORMANCES “Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine & Tharp,” Oct. 28, 2011
• PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: GIVE ME THE BANJO, Nov. 4, 2011
• PBS Arts from Chicago: AMERICAN MASTERS “Bill T. Jones: A Good Man,” Nov. 11, 2011
• PBS Arts from Cleveland: WOMEN WHO ROCK, Nov. 18, 2011
• PBS Arts from Los Angeles: GREAT PERFORMANCES “Il Postino From LA Opera,” Nov. 25, 2011
• PBS Arts from New York: GREAT PERFORMANCES “Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park,” Dec. 2, 2011
• PBS Arts from San Francisco: GREAT PERFORMANCES “The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet,” Dec. 16, 2011

The production is a shade less than some of the best recordings we can purchase of HMS Pinafore but very entertaining nonetheless.

The H.M.S. Pinafore (1973, D’Oyly Carte Opera Company) [VHS] is considered the gold standard, although I’ll admit not seeing it yet. has a page of Pinafore videos. One of my favorite’s is the London Symphony Gilbert & Sullivan – H.M.S. Pinafore / Marshall, Howerd, Jones, Opera World but there are several productions that rank equally.