Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious comic operetta tells the story of the orphan Frederic.
The son of a wealthy 19th century man, Frederic’s fate takes a sudden twist when,
after his father’s death, his hard-
A gang of pirates play and party on the coast of Cornwall. Frederic, mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday, reminds the Pirate King that his obligation to the gang is over, and he is leaving them. Frederic, who has a very keen sense of duty, tells the pirates that the reason they can't make piracy pay is that they are too tenderhearted – they won't attack a weaker ship and they won't rob orphans.
Frederic is left alone on the shore and meets up with a bevy of beautiful girls (Major
General Stanley's daughters.) Apart from his nursery maid, he has never seen a woman,
and so immediately falls in love with them. He asks if any of the girls will marry
him, and the youngest, Mabel, agrees. The pirates enter and each grab a girl. Major
General Stanley (the very model of a modern major general) enters and demands to
know what is taking place. The Pirates tell Major General Stanley that they intend
to marry his daughters. Knowing their weakness, Major-
The Policeman are confused by Frederic's departure, and, bemoaning their daily task of depriving their fellow citizens of liberty, depart to capture the pirates. Hearing the pirates approaching, they conceal themselves and challenge the pirates as they enter the castle. The pirates defeat the police, but Ruth reveals that they aren't orphans, but really noblemen who have gone wrong.