The Pirates of Penzance

A swashbuckling good time!

Leap years come around every four years, and for one young pirate it causes mayhem and turmoil. The quips, absurdities, and arias of this comedic opera come together in a masterful, extravagant, and delightful Kentucky Opera production.

Sung in English with English captions.

Friday, February 16 8 pm
Sunday, February 18 2 pm

Tuesday, February 20 1:30 pm
Thursday, February 22 8 pm
Saturday, February 24 8 pm

The W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre

Group rates start at $37.50 per person. Student groups are $15 per student. To purchase group tickets, call the Kentucky Opera box office at 502.584.4500 and we would be happy to arrange your tickets. (All group rates apply to a minimum of 10 in your group.)

Individual student ticket rates are $20 and can be purchased online at (Valid for students K-12 or enrolled in college with valid college id.)

Pay-What-You-Can Pricing

We want everyone to experience opera, regardless of ability to pay. If you would like to attend a Kentucky Opera production but cannot afford a full-price ticket, please fill out this short form and a member of our Patron Services team will be in touch with options to ensure you can attend. You can also call the box office at (502) 584-4500 for pay-what-you-can ticket options.

Final Dress Rehearsal Opportunity

Are you a teacher and want to bring your class to Final Dress Rehearsal? This is a fun teaching moment for students interested in all aspects of the arts.

Email or fill out this form.

Many will recognize the Major-General’s aria, “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”. The challenging and witty patter has proved irresistible and continues to be parodied, pastiched*, and used in advertising, political commentary, and other forms of media. 


Emily Senturia


Doug Scholz-Carlson

Come meet the cast & characters of The Pirates of Penzance as they untangle a leap year mistake, discover young love, and stand firm-ish in their codes of honor.

Major-General stanley

Troy Cook

the pirate king

Craig Irvin


Martin Bakari


Brennan Blankenship


Katherine Calcamuggio-Donner


Tara Durnil


Georgia Belmont


Rebekah Hardin


Erik Nordstrom

Sergeant of the Police

Joshua Thomas

The Pirates of Penzance is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. Its official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City, December 31, 1879, and its London debut was April 3, 1880, at the Opera Comique, where it ran for 363 performances. Gilbert acted as stage director for his own plays and operas, and Sullivan conducted the music rehearsals.  

The Pirates of Penzance remains a frequently referenced and recognized work by Gilbert and Sullivan. 

The story centers around Frederic, an apprentice to a band of tender-hearted pirates. When Frederic turns 21, he is released from his apprenticeship and sets out to begin his new life. He soon meets the daughters of Major-General Stanley, including Mabel, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic learns, however, that he was born on the 29th of February, Leap Year, and the terms of his apprenticeship (miscommunicated by his nursemaid) specifically stated he remain with the pirates until his “21st birthday,” not 21 years of age. Technically, he has a birthday only once every four years on leap day, which means he must serve for another 63 years. Bound by his own sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully. More hijinks ensue as the story continues with everyone hoping for a happy ending! 

*A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, music, or architecture that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche pays homage to the work it imitates, rather than mocking it.