Mikado Opens April
music department will present
The Mikado (or The Town of Titipu),
a light opera by Gilbert
and Sullivan. Show times are 7:30
p.m. Thursday, April 28, through
Saturday, April 30, in Forest
There will also be a 1 p.m.
music professor Robert Engelhart
said The Mikado is
among the most popular and most often performed operas in the world.
set a record for its initial run in London,
with more than 600 performances," he added. " London
was enamored with everything
Japanese at that time. There was an exhibition of Japanese culture
in the city and the people couldn't seem to get enough of it. Gilbert
and Sullivan productions are known for their stinging satire of
British society – its silly rules, illogical laws and people stuck
in the middle trying to make the best of it. The Mikado achieves
the same thing, but indirectly. It plays off the fascination with
Japanese culture by being set in that country, but it's meant to
satirize British society, not the Japanese."
ranks The Mikado among the top three Gilbert and Sullivan
collaborations. The other two would be The Pirates of Penzance
and HMS Pinafore, which Engelhart previously directed
always loved The Mikado and wanted to stage it here,"
Engelhart added. "It also seemed like a logical next step in
terms of bringing in an orchestra. We relied on piano accompaniment
for past productions, but this cast will sing with a 20-piece orchestra.
It will enhance the terrific tunes and marvelous orchestration in
this show. Yet for all its wonderful music, the stage requirements
are relatively simple, compared with Pinafore, for example."
Mikado is set in the Japanese
town of Titipu.
It revolves around a young fellow named Nanki-Poo, the son of the
Mikado, who has disguised himself as a wandering minstrel and falls
in love with Yum-Yum. Unfortunately, she is betrothed to her guardian,
Ko-Ko, who has been condemned to death for the capital offense of
flirting. Upon hearing the news, Nanki-Poo quickly returns, only
to find that Ko-Ko has gained a last-minute reprieve. He has been
promoted to the rank of Lord High Executioner by those in power
who reason that since Ko-Ko was next in line, he can't cut off anyone
else's head until he cuts off his own.
Mikado soon notices the lack of executions. Desperate to save his
own head, Ko-Ko finds a substitute in Nanki-Poo, who is determined
to take his own life rather than live without Yum-Yum. Nanki-Poo
agrees to be executed in one month, on the condition he marry Yum-Yum
immediately. But as the wedding celebration beings, a law is discovered
– to Yum-Yum's distress – that decrees a condemned man's wife must
be buried alive with his corpse.
said the Gilbert and Sullivan Society at the University of Michigan
has been a "huge blessing," donating male and female wigs,
fans and authentic bamboo parasols for use in the NMU production.
Susan Grimes (TAS) is having one of her cosmetology
classes dress the female wigs and make them look more presentable.
Engelhart said he is also grateful for the choreography of Debra
are $15 for adults and $10 for NMU students or children under 13.
They are available at all NMU ticket outlets or online at www.nmu.edu/tickets