Daryl Gray's Pirates of Penzance! at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
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The last date listed for Daryl Gray's Pirates of Penzance! was Thursday November 19, 2009 / 8:00pm.
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A heart-rending debut, a crowd-pleasing favorite and an iconic work are the highlights of Smuin Ballet's winter program XXtremes. For the first time ever in Northern California, the company will perform Jiri Kylian's acclaimed Return to a Strange Land, set to music by Czech composer Leos Janacek. Return expresses the journey from loss to hope with rare elegance and astonishing form. Brought back by popular demand, the company will also dance Dear Miss Cline, a buoyant and colorful romp through the music of Patsy Cline. Choreographed by the company's own Amy Seiwert, the piece features 10 Nashville tunes, including the immortal "Walkin' After Midnight." Finally, Smuin Ballet will pay tribute to its late, great founder Michael Smuin by performing his Carmina Burana. Set to the pulse-thumping cantata by Carl Orff, the choreography of Carmina Burana exemplifies the rhythm, speed and syncopation for which Smuin Ballet is beloved. Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Goldstar MemberRed Velvet
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I am certainly no expert in Ballet, but I'd like to think I'm an expert on having fun, and this Ballet was certainly that. From my amazing seat near the front of the Dress Circle, I audibly gasped several times as the Pirate King (Meng Lu) took giant leaps into the air --- and did it with style. Ramon Moreno as Major-General Stanley and Willy Anderson as the Sergeant of Police were particularly charming and comic. Frederic and Mabel were well cast and showed lots of chemistry.
The four opera singers involved did a lovely job, although I couldn't help wanting two more singers --- another male with a baritone voice would have been especially helpful to take the lyric baritone lines. I also found the changed lyrics (to reflect the singers as observers) to be more distracting than clever. Still, it's wonderful to hear these songs done by trained professionals, and the Frederic/Mabel duet made me choke up just the way it should.
The costumes were terrific, and the sets worked quite well. At the end of the ballet, pretty much the entire auditorium gave a standing ovation to the performance, and kept the clapping going for several bows before the company finally cut us off --- and that speaks volumes about how the rest of the audience seemed to agree with me. There are only 2 1/2 more performances --- so don't miss this rare chance to catch this Ballet/Operetta done by a huge, talented 50-dancer cast with Symphony Silicon Valley.
Quotes & Highlights
- “Brave and jolly Pirates!...enjoyable, giddy...sustained virtuosic dancing. Four singers are ingeniously woven into the ballet.” --<em>The New York Times </em>
Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance explodes onto the ballet stage with swashbuckling pirates and damsels in distress. Following the comic operetta of 1879 and the hit musical of 1980, choreographer Daryl Gray's extravaganza is jam packed with tour de force dance, a re-orchestrated Broadway-flavored score featuring four comic onstage vocalists, Symphony Silicon Valley live performance under the baton of Dwight Oltman, and all the fantasy, gaiety, and romance that this wonderful G&S story has to offer. Ballet San Jose Artistic Director Nahat calls Daryl Gray’s Pirates of Penzance, "stylish fantasy and heaps of fun." These buccaneers deliver loads of action and non-stop laughs for the entire family.
Daryl Gray’s Pirates of Penzance traces the adventures of the always-dutiful young Frederic. After learning that, as a child, he was accidentally apprenticed to a band of pirates (his nurse misheard ‘pilot’ for ‘pirate’), Frederic vows to pursue a more honorable path in life and fight against the pirates—that is, as soon as he finishes his apprenticeship with them, as he feels his duty requires. The buccaneers, actually all kindhearted folk, find it hard to keep up their marauding ways, but nonetheless, they kidnap a group of beautiful young women to become their wives, incurring the wrath of the local authorities. Only the intervention of Frederic, who falls in love with one of the women, can bring peace between pirates and police.