'The Mikado' To Take Western Plains Opera Stage
Tickets are on sale for the Western Plains Opera production of The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan. Performances are set for September 14th and 15th at 7:30 p.m. and September 16th at 3:00 p.m. at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the campus of Minot State University.
The ninth and most popular of Gilbert & Sullivan's 14 collaborations, The Mikado represents Gilbert and Sullivan at their peak, according to General Director Kenneth Bowles.
"The Mikado is arguably the most popular piece of musical theatre ever written," Dr. Bowles states. "This is one for the whole family. It is full of energy, beautiful costumes and great music. It is also hilarious."
The show opens in the Japanese town of Titipu where Nanki-Poo, son of "the great and virtuous Mikado," has fled to avoid marrying an elderly woman named Katisha. Traveling under disguise, he falls in love with Yum-Yum, who's already engaged to her guardian, Ko-Ko, an ineffectual tailor. Ko-Ko, it turns out, has been condemned to death for the capital crime of flirting, but, through the twisted law and logic of The Mikado's Japan, he is reprieved at the last moment and appointed Lord High Executioner.
The fortunes of all the characters rise and fall several times as the Great Mikado arrives on the scene "humanely" complaining that productivity rates have fallen in the Executioner's office as no one is being put to death. However, just when the heads are literally about to roll the plot takes another twist.
"Setting the opera in Japan allowed librettist Gilbert to satirize British politics and institutions of his day," Dr. Bowles adds. "The whole plot is a very witty take on politics and bureaucracies. We are left laughing at the corruption that comes with power and the realization that bureaucrats often rise to their own level of incompetence."
Dallas tenor Drake Dantzler will play the role of Nanki-Poo, and Minot soprano Joann Martinson will portray Yum-Yum. John Scheeler, Minot, and Cheryl Nilson, Riverdale, will play Ko-Ko and Katisha respectively. Minot's own Eric Furuseth will play the title role of the Mikado. Julie Biggs, a Winnipeg mezzo-soprano, who has delighted WPO audiences in The Marriage of Figaro and other productions, has been cast as Pitti-Sing.
Gilbert and Sullivan specialist David Bradley, Minot, will take the role of Pooh-Bah and also serve as special advisor. Playwrite-Director Gordan Portmann, Brandon, Manitoba, will be stage director, and Dr. Bowles will conduct the orchestra and large chorus.
Seating may be reserved by calling the MSU Division of Music at 858-3185 or by logging on to www.westernplainsopera.com.