Satirical Japanese opera wraps up the Touhill’s Opera! Opera! series

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“The Mikado” is anything but your grandmother’s opera, and the Touhill Performing Arts Center’s (One University Blvd.) newest production is anything but average.

Created by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, the opera is set in imperial Japan. It tells the story of Nanki-Poo, who has to escape from an arranged marriage to an older woman. While pretending to be a wandering musician, Nanki-Poo arrives in Titipu and falls in love with Yum-Yum, who is to marry her guardian, Ko-Ko.

With this love triangle at the forefront, add in that the Mikado, another name for a Japanese emperor, is coming and expecting a full report on all recent executions. Hilarity ensues and satirical commentary runs rampant in regards to British politics and institutions.

This performance will be presented in just the way that Gilbert and Sullivan premiered it at the Savoy Opera in 1885.

“There have been modern versions of the opera,” said Rachel Queen, Assistant Director of Marketing at The Touhill. “This is more of a Gilbert and Sullivan version. They used original stage directions from Gilbert and Sullivan.”

This performance will also be preformed by Britain’s longest and oldest touring opera company, Carl Rosa Opera, marking Carl Rosa Opera’s first appearance at the Touhill. The sets and costumes from the 1999 Academy Award-winning movie, Topsy-Turvy, by Mike Leigh, will be used to bring more of the authenticity from the original performance of 1885.

“The Mikado” is the third and final performance in the Touhill’s 2007-08 Opera! Opera! series, which also includes “The Merry Widow” and “Tosca.” The Touhill Performing Arts Center is on the north campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Tickets range in cost from $35 to $50. Students can get a 10 percent discount on tickets with their student ID.