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When the copyright on Sullivan's music expired in 1950, Charles Mackerras, then assistant conductor and repetiteur for Sadler's Wells Opera, felt that an arrangement of music from the Gilbert and Sullivan Operas would prove as popular as Rosenthal's arrangement of Offenbach's melodies in Gaîté Parisienne. Mackerras knew the Savoy Operas well, as he had played oboe in a pit orchestra in Sydney, most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas were played.

Mackerras described his choice of music:

"Pineapple Poll is a patchwork of tunes from the Savoy Operas, which pass by so quickly as to bewilder even Sullivan experts. Every bar is taken from the operas, although I found it necessary to 'cheat' at the end and insert a few bars from Sullivan's delightful Overture di Ballo. Occasionally I have made several tunes go together (a trick often used by Sullivan himself), and those who consider Sullivan incomplete without Gilbert will find that the original words in the opera often fit the situation in the ballet."

Pineapple Poll premiered on 13 March 1951 at Sadler's Wells Theatre by the Sadler's Wells Ballet as part of the Festival of Britain. The production was designed by Sir Osbert Lancaster.

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