Photo Gallery The Mikado
An all-star cast including the Anchorage Opera debut of Metropolitan Opera star, Jane Shaulis, internationally acclaimed singers, returning fan favorites and talented local Anchorage and Fairbanks artists, made The Mikado must-see theater! Photos by Kathleen Behnke
Friday, April 15 @ 8:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Saturday, April 16 @ 8:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Sunday, April 17 @ 4:00 PM – Discovery Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts Sung in English with projected English titles
About The Mikado
The Mikado is laugh out loud fun for the entire family as Victorian England meets an imaginary imperial Japan in this most popular of all the Operettas by the masters of the genre, Gilbert & Sullivan. Sparkling satire, famous melodies, and captivating silliness abound in this topsy-turvy tale of love and misadventures. Leave your worries behind and journey to a make-believe land of lotus blossoms, levity, and laughter with The Mikado!
An all-star cast including the Anchorage Opera debut of Metropolitan Opera star, Jane Shaulis, internationally acclaimed singers, returning fan favorites and talented local Anchorage and Fairbanks artists, make The Mikado must-see theater!
HISTORY of The Mikado
The prolific partnership of librettist William S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan was at its zenith in 1885 when The Mikado premiered at London’s Savoy Theatre. Legend has it that it a decorative Japanese sword hanging in Gilbert’s study fell to the floor one day inspiring him to pen a comic opera parodying the vogue in Britain at the time for ‘japonaiserie‘, Western art reflecting Japanese traditions. Prominent painters including Claude Monet, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec were all employing Japanese motifs and subjects in their art, and in Knightsbridge, London a magnificent exhibition The Japanese Village opened to much popular acclaim. Publicity of the time for the exhibition boasted “Skilled Japanese artisans and workers (male and female) will illustrate the manners, customs, and art-industries of their country, attired in their national and picturesque costumes. Magnificently decorated and illuminated Buddhist temple. Five o’clock tea in the Japanese tea-house. Japanese Musical and other Entertainments. Every-day Life as in Japan”. Among the many visitors to the exhibition was in fact W.S. Gilbert who was keen to learn, from the over 100 Japanese men and women employed there, proper aspects of their culture. His resulting libretto incorporates evocative imagery of an imaginary Japanese town crafted lovingly, as if by a calligrapher’s hand, while simultaneously taking stinging satirical aim squarely at his own contemporary England. For rather than a representation or reflection of actual Japanese society, the setting in a fictitious land serves to not so thinly veil the true subject of its satire, namely Victorian political and social hypocrisy…and (as in every Gilbert & Sullivan operetta) all with a large dose of frivolity and FUN!
Steven Mosteller – Conductor
Albert Sherman – Stage Director
Carrie Yanagawa – Set Designer
Pish-Tush – Michael Smith
Richard Gordon – Chorus Master/Rehearsal Accompanist/Coach
Free Pre-Opera Talks
Free Student Final Dress Rehearsal
Anchorage Opera would like to open the final dress rehearsal to K-12 students at no cost for our production of The Mikado, by Gilbert & Sullivan on April 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm performed in English with projected Supertitles in English. This production will be held at The Discovery Theater, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and seating is limited. We will do our best to accommodate any K-12 student that would like to come, however some parties may receive fewer tickets than requested based on availability.
Please complete the student dress request survey at the link provided below to request your vouchers. As this is a coveted event for many schools in the Anchorage area, please do not request more tickets than you will use. If you are promised a certain number of tickets and find you will not be able to use them all, please contact us as soon as possible so that people on the wait list can be notified and make arrangements to attend.
To reserve tickets CLICK HERE
We hope to see a full house of K-12 Students there! BRAVO
One year before the action begins, Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado of Japan, fled his father’s imperial court to escape marriage with Katisha, an elderly lady. Disguised as a traveling musician, he met and fell in love with Yum-Yum, the young ward of Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor in the town of Titipu. Yum-Yum, however, was already betrothed to her guardian, and Nanki-Poo left Titipu in despair.
ACT I — In the Courtyard of Ko-Ko’s Official Residence in Titipu. The act opens to find an assemblage of Japanese nobles. Nanki-Poo—still masquerading as a musician—returns to Titipu eagerly seeking Yum-Yum, as he has heard that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for flirting. He learns, to his dismay, from Pish-Tush that although Ko-Ko was indeed to have been beheaded, he was reprieved at the last moment and made Lord High Executioner instead. As the criminals must be executed in order, and Ko-Ko was next in line, no one else can be executed until Ko-Ko cuts off his own head. Pooh-Bah, reveals to Nanki-Poo that Yum-Yum is on her way home from school and will be wed to Ko-Ko this very afternoon. The nobles herald the appearance of Ko-Ko who is full of ideas for his first official victim. He discusses with Pooh-Bah the plans for his forthcoming marriage. A procession of school girls arrives followed by Yum-Yum and her sisters, Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo. Yum-Yum greets her betrothed decidedly less enthusiastically than she does Nanki-Poo. Taking Yum-Yum aside, Nanki-Poo declares his love and shares with her the secret of his identity. Because of the excessive laws against flirting, Yum-Yum urges him to stay away from her. Ko-Ko, meanwhile, has received a letter from the Mikado, who is concerned that there have been no recent executions in Titipu and threatens severe repercussions if one does not take place within a month. Although, as Pooh-Bah points out, Ko-Ko is next in line for that honor, Ko-Ko understandably would prefer to find a substitute. He comes across Nanki-Poo, who is preparing to terminate his existence rather than face life without Yum-Yum, and the two men strike a bargain: Ko-Ko agrees to let Nanki-Poo marry Yum-Yum now, and, in return, Nanki-Poo agrees to let Ko-Ko behead him at the end of the month and marry his widow. Ko-Ko introduces his volunteer to the townsmen, and Nanki-Poo embraces Yum-Yum. All rejoice over this resolution, but the festivities are rudely interrupted by the appearance of Katisha. Furious at Nanki-Poo’s rejection, she attempts to reveal his true identity but she is silenced by the crowd. The humiliated Katisha vows revenge.
ACT II — Ko-Ko’s Garden, Later the Same Day As the act begins, Yum-Yum’s sisters and friends are helping her make ready for her wedding. Yum-Yum and her sisters are sad at the thought of the very brief marriage, and Nanki-Poo enters and tries to lift their spirits. The wedding plans are disrupted upon Ko- Ko’s discovery that, under the Mikado’s law, when a married man is beheaded, his wife must be buried alive. Yum-Yum’s enthusiasm for the marriage is suddenly diminished. To spare Yum-Yum this grim fate, Nanki-Poo decides to kill himself at once. This, however, would leave Ko-Ko with nobody to behead—just as word arrives that the Mikado is at this very minute approaching Titipu. Nanki-Poo offers himself for immediate decapitation, but Ko-Ko realizes that he can accomplish the same purpose by swearing a false affidavit that he has done the deed, provided that Nanki-Poo leaves at once and never comes back. Since Nanki-Poo will not leave otherwise, Ko-Ko sends Yum-Yum with him, and the happy couple goes off to be married just as the Mikado enters the town. The Mikado is delighted to hear that an execution has taken place, and is eager to hear the details. Ko-Ko, assisted by Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah, recounts a highly creative description of the execution. The Mikado’s visit, however, concerns another matter: at Katisha’s prompting, he is seeking the whereabouts of his son. Unfortunately, this turns out to be Nanki-Poo, the man Ko-Ko has just testified he beheaded. Ko-Ko and his accomplices are declared guilty of “compassing the death of the Heir Apparent” and scheduled to die. Their only hope is to admit the falsehood of the affidavit and of their testimony, and produce Nanki-Poo alive and well. Nanki-Poo, however, having already married Yum-Yum, is no longer free to marry Katisha and thus cannot reveal himself without risking both his own life and his wife’s. Ko-Ko is left with no other choice but to woo, win, and wed Katisha herself. Katisha is very upset over the loss of Nanki-Poo and at first refuses Ko-Ko, but when he sings her a touching ballad she accepts him. Nanki-Poo returns to life and presents himself—and his new bride—to his father. Ko-Ko devises an explanation of his subterfuge that satisfies the Mikado, who commutes his death sentence to one of life with Katisha. All ends with laughing song and merry dance.