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The Pirates of Penzance

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40 Roxbury Street
Keene, NH

May 17 at 7:30pm

May 18 at 2:00pm

All Seats Only $50
Students Only $10

(Cash or Check)

Gilbert and Sullivan’s blockbuster operetta is rooted in tradition and yet calls out for adaptation and evolution. This production delivers a modern feel to the show while keeping it tethered to its historical context.

British farce plays with archetypes that lampoon the government and aristocracy. Our production is in a setting that maintains the environment in which a stratified hierarchy of people exists. Using the backdrop of a resort, Raylynmor explores tropes that are decidedly more American: spring break, fraternity parties, and spa culture. When the Major General arrives and doesn’t like what he sees in terms of the day-to-day operations at the resort, he decides to buy it and restructure. The goal of our adaptation is not to break the brilliant narrative set out by its creators, but rather to align the characters more closely with figures that are in our contemporary zeitgeist.

Gilbert and Sullivan use gender as a dramatic tool in The Pirates of Penzance. The forces are divided between the “rollicking band of pirates” and the “bevy of beautiful maidens” (with a few bumbling police thrown in for good measure). Add to the pack the much-picked-on Ruth, and there is a great recipe for a misogynistic plot that allows “peers to be peers” as long as everyone else looks the other way.


Ultimately, The Pirates of Penzance is about sunny enjoyment. Most of the pivotal plot points are highly contrived insertions of nonsense – made deliciously eloquent by Gilbert’s serpentine lyrics. Sullivan’s mock bel canto creates an effervescent atmosphere that is always winking at the audience.



Andy Anderson (Conductor)

Maestro Andy Anderson has emerged as a prominent conductor in the world of opera and musical theater, highly praised for his "solid musical support from the podium" (The Sondheim Review) and his "fluidity, control, musicality, and palpable sympathy with the singers" (Kansas City Star). Based in New York, Anderson's expertise in a vast repertoire ranging from Sondheim to Wagner has garnered critical acclaim. Anderson “wields his baton like a magic wand” (The Tennessean), bringing a “subtlety and care that allows beautiful melodies to flow in a totally idiomatic fashion without overpowering the singers”, as noted by Opera News.


Anderson's exceptional talent and experience have recently earned him the appointment as the Principal Conductor for Opera Idaho. Anderson is set to conduct Opera in the Park for Opera Idaho in July 2023 and Gounod's ROMÉO ET JULIET for the same company in February 2024. As a guest conductor, Anderson is highly sought after and has made significant contributions to the artistic output of many companies, including Rimrock Opera, Amarillo Opera, Opera Idaho, Raylynmor Opera, Charlottesville Opera, and Anchorage Opera. Anderson conducted his highly anticipated international debut in 2017, conducting DON GIOVANNI with the Stara Zagora State Opera in Bulgaria.


Anderson's “youthful vitality” (Kansas City Star) has brought him into many senior leadership roles, including Artistic and Music Director of Mobile Opera and Assistant Conductor of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. As Artistic Director of the Civic Opera Theatre of Kansas City, Anderson conducted a diverse range of productions, including OUR TOWN, EVERLASTING UNIVERSE, THE MEDIUM, THE MIKADO, STREET SCENE, EDGAR, PASSION, FALSTAFF, and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO.


Alyce Daubenspeck (Ruth)

Alyce Daubenspeck is a young dramatic force to be reckoned with. Her voluptuous mezzo sound has been described as “emotionally shattering,” with its “pristine tone” that embodies high notes that are both “extraordinarily controlled and on the edge of wildness.” Her vulnerability as a dramatic actress has been moving audiences for the last 5 years, with roles such as AUGUSTA TABOR in Douglas Moore’s The BALLAD OF BABY DOE, the OLD PRIORESS in Poulenc’s DIALOGUES des CARMELITES, LYUBOV from TCHAIKOVSKY’S MAZEPPA, and ANITA in LA NAVARRAISE by Massenet.


In addition to her keen sense of drama, and propensity for big, complex characters, Alyce has also enjoyed a performance career sharing her wicked sense of humor both on and offstage. Her portrayals of THE WITCH from HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, TISBE in Rossini’s LA CENERENTOLA, MARCELLINA from LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, BERTA from IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, ARMELINDE in CENDRILLON, and Julia Child in LEE HOIBY’s one act opera “BON APPETIT!” have met with great acclaim.

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Gabriel Feldt (Frederic)

Gabriel Feldt, tenor, is originally from Osceola, WI. Gabriel has performed as Pelléas in Impressions de Pelléas, Gabriel von Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw with Temple University Opera Theater. Currently based in Philadelphia, PA, Gabriel is a frequent member of the Opera Philadelphia Chorus appearing in their productions of Carmina Burana, Rigoletto, and Oedipus Rex. Other notable roles include Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd.

Gabriel is also a champion of recital and cabaret performances helping to develop NotSoOpera, a concert series stemmed from the NotSoLatin series based in Philadelphia. He has also been featured in Gemini Voices Co. cabaret series performing songs from the musical theater canon.


Amy Maude Helfer (The Pirate King)

Mezzo-soprano Amy Maude Helfer is a versatile singing actress of opera, operetta, and musical theatre, especially lauded for her comedic timing, “plangent mezzo” and "gorgeous voice.”

The artist was busy in 2023. She sang Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with NYCO and reprised the role of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Theater of Connecticut, with whom she also sang Zulma in L’Italiana in Algeri. In lighter repertoire, the mezzo sang Pitti-Sing in NYC and on the National tour of Mikado with the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and debuted as Sister Margaretta in Sound of Music at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

In 2022 she made a role and company debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with New York City Opera and was the alto soloist in Stroope’s American Rhapsody with MidAmerica Concerts at Carnegie Hall. That same season, Amy Maude was engaged to sing Meg Page in Falstaff at Raylynmor Opera and Petra in A Little Night Music in her company debut with Union Avenue Opera.


Additional credits that season include Tessa in The Gondoliers with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. The artist was the recipient of NYGASP’s Isaac Asimov Award for Artistic Achievement. She made a role debut as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel with the Opera Theater of Connecticut. COVID-era credits include a role debut as Berta in The Barber of Seville with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Alla Nazmova in The Garden of Alla at New York Public Library’s virtual musical theatre festival “Across a Crowded Zoom.” Amy Maude sang Iolanthe in Iolanthe for Kids in a virtual production with NYGASP, a live concert of G&S favorites with Utopia Opera for Foxhowe Association, and Songs from the Elephant’s Trunk, a live concert with Brief Cameo Productions at Ivoryton Playhouse.

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Andy Papas (Major General Stanley)

Praised for his “vocal power and finesse” & “irresistible hijinks,” baritone Andy Papas is sought after for his impeccable musicianship and mastery of comic repertoire.

2023-24 is highlighted by Andy’s return to New England’s major opera outfits. He joins the roster of Boston Lyric Opera as Magnifico (cover) for La Cenerentola, and as cover in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice at the Huntington Theater with BLO. 2024 has Andy making a comic return to Opera Co. of Middlebury as Hortensius in La Fille du Regiment, and Guest Artist stage directing for OCM Young Artist production of Rossini’s La Scala di Seta. He also performs one of his signature roles, The Major General in The Pirates of Penzance, for Raylynmor Opera in New Hampshire’s Monadnock region. Finally, Andy returns to the concert stage as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem for Music on Norway Pond.


In the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Papas was pleased to make his debut with The Ojai Music Festival as Owen/Johnson in Omar’s Journey, singing alongside Omar creator Rhiannon Giddens. He also covered these roles in the Boston Lyric Opera production of Giddens’ Pulitzer Prize Winning Omar. 2023 also had Mr. Papas reprising the title role in Don Pasquale in back to back productions with both Opera Saratoga and Union Avenue Opera. In 2021-22 he returned to Anchorage Opera as Major General Stanley, rejoined Opera Company of Middlebury as John Styx in Orphée aux Enfers, brought his celebrated Doctor Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia) to Pacific Northwest Opera, and reprised his acclaimed Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola) at Fargo-Moorhead Opera. Mr. Papas has also sung Bartolo with Union Avenue Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, Anchorage Opera, Painted Sky Opera, and covered the role at Boston Lyric Opera. His committed, musically sophisticated performances have consistently earned him praise for “creating a character both sinister and silly,” and for his “rich voiced portrayals... of considerable aplomb.”

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Ben Robinson (Director)

Ben Robinson is the General Director of Anchorage Opera, the Artistic Director of Opera Ithaca (New York) and Raylynmor Opera (New Hampshire), as well as the Managing Director of Lyric Fest (Philadelphia). He works as a director, librettist, educator, and arts administrator. As a stage and film director, he has mounted numerous productions, highlighted by new productions for which he also wrote new English libretti: Madame Butterfly, Macbeth, Hansel and Gretel, The Barber of Seville, The Impresario, Die Fledermaus and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Ben's film production of Bastien and Bastienne, with his original English libretto setting the action in the social media-obsessed present, was released in March 2021 and subsequently streamed at the Arlington International Film Festival. He directed and edited a film release of Pagliacci for Raylynmor Opera in October 2020 and directed Gianni Schicchi for Opera Ithaca, which Opera Magazine heralded as the "deftest use... of Covid-era technology as part of modern operatic reality." He was announced as a 2021 recipient of the Ewing Arts Award, which celebrates the diversity and excellence of artists in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire.


In February 2023, his 2022 "moving, visually daring" (Opera News) Julia Child-inspired Hansel and Gretel film joined the Opera Philadelphia Channel and was subsequently streamed at a series of outdoor events for the company in September 2023.


Directing highlights include Nabucco for the inaugural Opera Ithaca Festival, The Impresario and The Pirates of Penzance for Ithaca College, a soap-opera inspired conceptual production of Così fan tutte for Cedar Rapids Opera, Hänsel und Gretel for Temple University, Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera Ithaca and Raylynmor Opera, a cruise ship setting of L'Italiana in Algeri for St. Petersburg Opera (nominated for 10 Theatre Tampa Bay Awards, including Best Director), a suburban American Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Ithaca/Raylynmor Opera), a reimagined double-blind production of The Medium (Amarillo Opera, streamed on Panhandle PBS), a fashion-world inspired La Cenerentola (Raylynmor Opera), a new chamber production of Suor Angelica (West Texas A&M University), and the world premiere of Sally Lamb McCune's We Wear the Sea Like a Coat (Opera Ithaca/Ithaca College).


Projects for the 2023-2024 season include directing Scalia/Ginsburg and Rusalka for Opera Ithaca, The Elixir of Love for Anchorage Opera and Annapolis Opera, L'enfant et les sortilèges for Salt Marsh Opera, Ariodante for Temple University, and Les mamelles de Tirésias for the inaugural Alaska Artist Development Program.


Upcoming projects include Così fan tutte with Opera Ithaca, Madama Butterfly and L’Italiana in Algeri with Anchorage Opera, Scalia/Ginsburg with Gulfshore Opera, Cendrillon (Massenet) with Cedar Rapids Opera, and A Little Night Music with St. Petersburg Opera.

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Michael Scarcelle (Sergeant)

Described by The New York Times as “a forbidding, resonant bass-baritone”, Michael Scarcelle recently performed Basilio in Raylynmor Opera’s BARBER OF SEVILLE, Vodnik RUSALKA with Resonance Works in Pittsburgh, Pangloss CANDIDE with Opera in the Heights, and bass soloist for Haydn’s LORD NELSON MASS with York Symphony. Other recent highlights include Figaro THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Pedruzzi in American Symphony Orchestra’s MONA LISA at Carnegie Hall; Herrmann Augustus CANDIDE with Munich Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra; Papageno MAGIC FLUTE and Pirate King PIRATES OF PENZANCE with Anchorage Opera; Poo-Bah MIKADO with both Mobile Opera and Shreveport Opera; HYDROGEN JUKEBOX with Skylight Music Theatre; Demetrius A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with Opera Naples; Melchior AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS and Beaupertuis in Nino Rota's ITALIAN STRAW HAT with Amarillo Opera, Death in Holst’s SAVITRI with Little Opera Theater of New York, Alidoro LA CENERENTOLA with Salt Marsh Opera, and Elviro SERSE with Boston Baroque. Mr. Scarcelle made his European debut singing Crespel LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN with Festival lyrique international de Belle-Ile en Mer and returned as Schaunard LA BOHÈME. Other performances abroad include Escamillo CARMEN, Figaro LE NOZZE DI FIGARO as well as THAT’S BROADWAY with Volkstheater Rostock. Concert engagements include a return to Carnegie Hall as bass soloist for both the Duruflé REQUIEM and Fauré REQUIEM with New York City Chamber Orchestra, Händel's MESSIAH with Distinguished Concerts International New York at Avery Fisher Hall, Beethoven SYMPHONY No. 9 at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Bach MAGNIFICAT (internationally televised from the National Cathedral).


Member: Actors’ Equity, AGMA, NATS.

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Megnot Toggia (Mabel)

Soprano Megnot Toggia recently graduated with her M.M. in Voice Performance from Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance. She has been seen in Opera Ithaca's production of Gianni Schicchi as "La Ciesca", Temple University Opera Theater's production of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore as "Adina", and ENA Ensemble's Fringe Festival production of Ganymede 5 as "Rita". Megnot seeks to nurture her students' passion for music as well as their confidence in singing.

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