Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



Compiled by

Bill McCann


HMS Pinafore was first produced at the Savoy Theatre on May 25th 1878. It was the first runaway success Gilbert and Sullivan were to have, both in England and America. It remains one of the most popular pieces in the canon.

The following discussion is a compilation of the thoughts and opinions of subscribers to the SavoyNet Mail list between July 12th and 30th 1997. It should be noted that, while many of the contributors have performed in, and/or extensively researched, HMS Pinafore, the following opinions reflect the personal views of the individual contributors to which they are attributed.

The archivist's comments, which are generally kept to a minimum, are given in italics in order to distinguish them from the main discussion. The original words of the individual contributors have been retained with, in general, only light editing. However, verbosity did rear its head on some occasions and judicious pruning was undertaken where necessary. More than 200 individual postings were finally selected for inclusion and, in order to allow the readers as much freedom as possible in navigating through these, a comprehensive index has been compiled. Just follow the HTML links to those parts of the discussion that appeal to you.

Many SavoyNetters are fond of using acronyms for some common (and, occasionally, uncommon) phrases. However, for others in the group these remain a profound mystery and even an irritant. I had originally thought of substituting the complete phrase where these occurred in the discussions but that would be to remove what is a characteristic aspect of SavoyNet postings. Instead, I have left them untouched but provided an APPENDIX where all those that occur in these discussions are translated.

There now follows an "Archivist Health Warning". Two areas of discussion concerned a) possible backgrounds for a number of the characters in the opera and b) "spins" on the plot. It is clear that, for many, these are useful ways of exploring the depth of either the characters or the plot itself. However, for many more they are irrelevant to what Gilbert left us. They have been put in the "WHAT IF ?" section at the end of the archive and, as they are mostly detailed theses, are relatively long but also highly imaginative. So, visit this section according to your own predilections!

Download this discussion transcript as a single word processing file:

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  • Updated 25 October 1997