In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a ... See full summary »
The common career of W.S. Gilbert,a barrister turned comic writer, and Arthur Sullivan, a classic composer turned converted against his will to light music, who wrote fourteen operettas between 1871 and 1896, to great public acclaim.
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In a mythical Japan, Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado. He lights upon Nanki-Poo, a strolling minstrel who loves the beautiful Yum-Yum. But Yum-Yum is also loved by Ko-Ko, and Nanki-Poo, seeing no hope for his love, considers suicide. Ko-Ko offers to solve both their problems by executing Nanki-Poo, and an agreement is reached whereby Ko-Ko will allow Nanki-Poo to marry Yum-Yum for one month, at the end of which Nanki-Poo will be executed, in time for the arrival of the Mikado. But what Ko-Ko doesn't know is that Nanki-Poo is the son of the Mikado and has run away to avoid a betrothal to an old harridan named Katisha. The arrival of the Mikado brings all the threads of the tale together. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's comic opera "The Mikado or, The Town of Titipu" was their ninth of fourteen collaborations. It opened on March 14, 1885 in London at the Savoy Theatre and ran for 672 performances. See more »
This version of 'The Mikado' was released in 1939 and was an early Technicolor production. This, and the fact that most of the cast are D'Oyly Carte veterans and experts in the material, means it is extremely watchable today. Even the addition of American Kenny Baker as Nanki-Poo (who acquits himself very well in such exalted company) can't spoil the feeling of watching a superior piece of operetta.
Of course there are a number of songs missing from this score, which is a shame. Chief amongst these is Ko-Ko's 'Little List', which I think was cut because of contemporary references which could seem offensive today. If that's true, it is a pity to lose such a show-stopper. I'd also liked to have seen more of Pooh-Bah, who has two songs deleted.
If you like Gilbert and Sullivan, or operettas generally, or big stage production musicals, sung well and acted with style, 'The Mikado' is for you.
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