Tomorrow is Frederic’s birthday. He’s turning 39, which is still pretty young considering the fact that he was born in 1856.
As Rapunzel said, “That’s the funny thing about birthdays – they’re kind of an annual thing.” However, Frederic’s birthday occurs less often than Rapunzel’s (or most other people, for that matter). Poor guy – he was born on February 29th, which is a fact that plays a key role in his story, the light opera The Pirates of Penzance.
The story centers around young Frederic, who, at the opening of the opera, is celebrating his 21st birthday. This event frees him from his indentures as a pirate, which as we soon learn, was an accidental apprenticeship. Long story short, he is later approached by the Pirate King and his nurse, Ruth, who tell him that since he was born on February 29th, he isn’t actually 21 yet. Poor lad.
The Pirates of Penzance is one of me and my sister’s favorite light operas, with the others being other Gilbert and Sullivan operas such as The Mikado and Patience. That’s the reason that I’m writing a happy birthday blog post to this young man, who is a slave of duty. I mean, what is there not to like about light operas? (Unless, in fact, you don’t like musicals or something crazy like that….) Light operas are the exact same thing as musicals except that there’s more music!
The following are a few of our favorite videos. (A slight caution, though – the Jon English version of The Pirates of Penzance is not totally clean. It’s funny and some of the videos are hilarious, but there are a few inappropriate things sprinkled throughout that keep us from buying it.) These are taken from the movie version with Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast), Rex Smith, and Kevin Kline (Phoebus from The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
‘With Cat-Like Tread’
‘The Pirate King’
‘Paradox’ (or ‘It Really Doesn’t Matter’)
This is the song when they explain the paradox of Frederic’s birthday and age. (As a side note, aren’t Frederic’s pants AWESOME?! I keep on asking Arwen to make me some, but she’s too busy…)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FREDERIC!!!
Edit: Sorry the videos are off! I can’t figure out how to make that work. If anyone knows, please comment. : )