With patter songs to rival Rossini and coloratura that parodies Gounod, The Pirates of Penzance is more than a simple Victorian musical comedy.

How difficult is it to pull off on stage? Mezzo soprano Yvonne Howard (Ruth), baritone Richard Burkhard (Major-General Stanley) and singer-director John Savournin (Pirate King) join Anna Picard to talk about the fractious collaboration between WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, Cornish pasties, sentiment, silliness, and the upcoming co-production between Charles Court Opera and Opera Holland Park.