The Durham Savoyards take their name from the Savoy Theatre, the permanent home of the partnership between librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. The name is fitting, since the Savoyards really, really like their Gilbert and Sullivan; they've performed nothing but the duo's 14 comic operas since the group's inception in 1963.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, the Savoyards once again present The Pirates of Penzance, perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular opera. The show, about a wealthy young man accidentally apprenticed to a band of tender-hearted pirates, satirizes both Victorian-era conventions and composers such as Verdi and Schubert. It's a little old-fashioned, yes, but you'll finally understand all those pop culture references to Pirates' oft-parodied patter song, "I am the very model of a modern major-general."—Emma Miller