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I was very disappointed by this production. I am sure Opera Australia are capable of doing better. It looks like the sort of G&S production that my school used to put on, particularly in the way that the chorus all do the same thing instead of coming across as individuals. Costumes and design are garish. The orchestra is plodding. The principals are mediocre both vocally and in their acting skills. I was particularly bemused by Mitchell Butel's gormless Ko Ko. His performance is so poor that I thought he must be an Aussie soap star drafted in to boost the box office. Not so, apparently he is a bona fide actor and opera performer.
This is the best Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Every time the orchestra played the introduction to a favourite tune I felt a little thrill of recognition and expectation. It usually only took a few bars before my hopes were dashed. I had hoped that this production would help to erase the memory of the dreadful Essgee Mikado from the 1990s. Obviously it is a million times better than that but it still does nothing for the reputation of Australian opera.
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