Originally I was going to split up the final act of the Pirates of Penzance over two posts, but as I was sick last week and hardly able to do much other than watch TV, we’re gonna finish it up in one post. This is a big chunk of music (one hour), so hold on.
And also, we have to get to the playlist for March before March ends, which is really important 🙂
So here’s sort of a guide to get you through the final act:
(1:01:02)”Oh, dry the glist’ning tear”- The Major General can’t sleep because he’s feeling bad for telling the pirates he was an orphan.
(1:07:10)”When the foeman bares his steel”- They are getting ready to face the pirates, Mabel encourages them in their endeavor.
(1:12:49)”When you had left our pirate fold”- They break the bad news to Frederic. It turns out he was born on the 29th of February, so he has not yet had his 21st birthday. He also must reveal to them (due to his sense of duty) that the Major General is not an orphan.
(1:19:12)”Away, away! My heart’s on fire!”- They are all conflicted as they hear this shocking news
(1:20:45)”All is prepar’d: you gallant crew await you”- Frederic must reveal the news to Mabel
(1:21:58)”Stay, Fred’ric, stay”- Frederic must do his duty, he must leave Mabel until 1940 (60+ years), but she will wait for him even though might both be dead by then. They sing sad songs.
(1:31:42)”When a felon’s not engaged in his employment”- They sing about how felons enjoy a normal life when they’re not “occupied in crime”, and the difficulty of being a policeman.
(1:33:59)”A rollicking band of pirates we”- The pirates are coming to get their revenge:
(1:35:00)”With cat’like tread, upon our prey we steal”- The pirates enter into stealth mode, claiming to be as silent as cats while singing about being stealthy.
(1:38:37)”Hush, hush, not a word!”- The Major General is still awake because “he thought he heard a noise”.
(1:40:12)”Sighing softly to the river”- It remains silent, so in this song he’s like, “Oh must have just been the wind” (in more poetic terms).
(1:44:23)”With base deceit you worked upon our feelings!”- The pirates confront the Major General about telling them he was an orphan. They finally make peace, finding common ground: “With all our faults we love our Queen”
(1:48:50)”Poor wandering ones!”- Ruth tells the general that the pirates were formerly noblemen (hence respectable people), then the Major General encourages them to go back to their “ranks and legislative duties” and “take my daughters, all of whom are beauties”, and thus it ends happily.