For immediate release: January 15, 2018

This February, prepare to sail the high seas with the crew of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore! Edmonton Opera’s delightful new production puts a jazzy twist on this madcap British comedy, setting it in the extravagant 1920s and featuring new jazz-inspired orchestrations by NYC-based musical arranger Ed Windels. Audiences will experience HMS Pinafore like they’ve never seen — or heard — before!

HMS Pinafore is the classic ‘boy meets girl, girl’s father gets in the way’ story. On board this luxury liner, the Captain’s daughter Josephine and lower-class sailor Ralph Rackstraw fall unwittingly in love — but the Captain has already promised Josephine’s hand to Sir Joseph, a high-ranking officer in the Navy with a buffoonish personality. Mayhem ensues when the lovers decide to elope… while at sea!

Director Robert Herriot, whose penchant for physical comedy and inventive staging was evident in last year’s Sterling Award-nominated Cinderella, returns to steer the Pinafore into the 1920s Jazz Age. His new concept features spectacular sets by designer Camellia Koo, including a 90-foot-long curved stage extending over the Jubilee’s orchestra pit and a 28-foot-high smoke stack. Costume designer Deanna Finnman showcases 1920s glamour with colourful flapper dresses for the women and sleek Naval attire for the Pinafore’s crew.

New York City-based composer and arranger Ed Windels adds toe-tapping jazz orchestrations to Gilbert & Sullivan’s original score, which will be performed live on stage by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Dressed in full crew uniforms, the ESO and conductor Peter Dala will be part of the action on deck in true jazz spirit!

HMS Pinafore brings together a cast of celebrated Canadian artists including soprano Vanessa Oude-Reimerink as Josephine, praised by Edmonton Journal for her “pure and powerful soprano, and charismatic stage presence,” and Adrian Kramer as Ralph, whose “robust lyric tenor voice” (Opera West) has earned acclaim across North America. This production also welcomes well-known talent from Edmonton’s theatre community such as veteran actor Glenn Nelson and beloved comedian and media personality Bridget Ryan.

With an array of stellar talent on stage, spectacular 1920s designs, and a jazzy new version of Gilbert & Sullivan’s cherished score, HMS Pinafore promises audiences an evening of entertainment and raucous comedy on board!  

HMS Pinafore will be sung in English with projected lyrics. Performances are on Saturday, Feb. 3 (8 p.m.), Tuesday, Feb. 6 (7:30 p.m.), and Friday, Feb. 9 (7:30 p.m.) at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets start at $40, and special pricing for patrons under 40 is available.

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