Hephaestus's Blog


The Mikado
November 5, 2012, 22:33
Filed under: G&S | Tags:

Saturday (Nov. 3), my family saw a performance of W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan‘s comic opera The Mikado,  produced by the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players. First performed in 1885, The Mikado has remained extremely popular ever since. This was only the second Gilbert and Sullivan performance I have seen live, and the first one at a normal theater. As the theater has no orchestra pit, the orchestra was situated directly in front of the audience. Sitting as I was in the front row, the violins were roughly three feet ahead of me. Some of my favorite characters was Ko-ko, the Lord High Executioner, who had a long (artificial, of course) Fu Manchu moustache, the left half of which fell off during the first act,  after which he stuck it back on, it fell off again, he tucked it into his belt, and it stayed there until the second act, when he entered with it safely reattached. About halfway through the first act, I was struck with the notion that the actor playing Pooh-bah, Lord High Everything Else, somehow resembled a donkey, and Pish-tush, a Noble Lord, looked like an ostrich. I do not know why this is, although the man playing Pish-tush did have an interesting haircut which could have triggered my “ostrich” thought. The HRG&SP used fans extensively, including (1 Ko-ko hiding behind a huge fan, adding an air of mystery to his entrance, (2 general use (and repetitive opening and closing) of fans by chorus members, which seems to be a Mikado staple, and (3 a headdress for Katisha made up of three fans arranged in an artistic fashion. In closing, I liked this performance very much, and look forward to seeing the HRG&SP produce Utopia, Limited this spring.

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