All aboard as the acclaimed Carl Rosa Company brings its joyful staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hit comic opera, HMS PINAFORE to the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 28th April to Saturday 3rd May. Romance and high spirits abound in this classic production, performed by Carl Rosa Opera’s superb cast, chorus and orchestra, directed by Peter Mulloy.

HMS Pinafore - Carl Rosa Opera -  Beverley Klein as Buttercup - Photo credit Tristram Kenton (ref09)

In this sparkling musical show, sailors, matters of social standing and secrets simmer in a scintillating story of star-crossed lovers and birth-swapped babies. The many memorable characters featured in HMS Pinafore include Sir Joseph Porter, the lovely Josephine, her father Captain Corcoran, love-struck Ralph Rackstraw and Buttercup.

A hilarious tale of love, double standards and mistaken identity unravels when the Captain’s daughter secretly falls in love with a common sailor.  Pledged by her father to marry the head of the British Navy, Sir Joseph Porter, young Josephine finds herself hopelessly torn between love and duty. But a remarkable twist of fate changes all when a long-kept secret is let slip, somersaulting the heroes into a heady climax of fun, frivolity and fortune. Will Dick Deadeye scupper plans for a happy resolution? Will the truth be revealed after all? Will everyone be left all at sea without their hearts’ desire or will true love run its course?

Gaily tripping through the hypocrisies of the English class system, with characters that might have tumbled from a Dickens novel, HMS Pinafore is a tongue-in-cheek look at love between social classes in the nineteenth century, and the rise of under-qualified politicians to positions of authority.

Gilbert’s gift for comical lyrics and situations is brilliantly matched by the infectious joy of Sullivan’s witty, light-hearted musical numbers in this delightful, sea-faring show which features the much-loved songs, For He Is An Englishman, I’m Called Little Buttercup, I’m the Monarch of the Sea and When I Was A Lad.

HMS Pinafore - Carl Rosa Opera - Stephen Page as Capt Corcoran - Photo credit Tristram Kenton (ref60)

Heading the impressive cast is the incomparable international opera singer Eric Roberts, who not only directed Carl Rosa’s acclaimed production of The Mikado, but who has played KoKo, the Lord High executioner, all over the UK and on film. Equally known to loyal Gilbert and Sullivan audiences is the accomplished Savoyard Bruce Graham, who will be returning to the role of Dick Deadeye; Beverley Klein, who plays Little Buttercup; and Stephen Page who appears as Captain Corcoran.

Beautifully and imaginatively staged with exquisite period costumes, the Carl Rosa Company continues to present the works of WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan with authentic style and dazzling humour. Setting the action in 1805 after the death of Lord Nelson, Carl Rosa’s Artistic Director Peter Mulloy presents this glorious light opera in a production which acknowledges, in its design, Gilbert’s original plan to have Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory represented on stage.

The Carl Rosa Company is a national institution. After many acclaimed productions in the West End, across the HMS Pinafore - Carl Rosa Opera - Previous cast photograph - Photo credit Tristram Kenton (ref204a)UK and internationally, they make a welcome return to Bath following successful visits with The Merry Widow and Die Fledermaus; and previous productions at the Theatre Royal of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous repertoire includingThe Gondoliers, Iolanthe, The Yeomen of the Guard; and most recently, The Pirates of Penzance in 2010 and The Mikado in 2011.  

Known for their large and accomplished casts and lavish staging, which remains true to original designs, Carl Rosa Opera is one of Britain’s oldest opera companies.  Founded in 1873 by Carl Rosa after several successful years in America as the Parepa-Rosa English Opera Company, the Company has toured for more than 85 years. After the success of his London opera seasons in 1873 and 1874, the Carl Rosa season became an important annual event.  Carl Rosa, who died in 1899, presented the first English productions ofsuch famous continental works as Carmen, Mignon and Lohengrin in 1879 followed by Aida in 1880, and Manon and Mefistole in 1885.  The Company gave the first English performance of La Boheme in front of Puccini in 1896.  

HMS PINAFORE appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 28th April to Saturday 3rd May. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at