The Mikado was first produced at the Savoy on March 14th 1885. It is easily the most popular work in the canon. It had an initial run of 672 performances - which remained the record at the Savoy for a quarter of a century. It was, however, composed at the time of the first serious disagreement between Gilbert and (the newly knighted) Sullivan. It was composed under pressure from D'Oyly Carte who was anxious to replace the failing Princess Ida and the germ of the plot was probably supplied by the hugely popular Japanese Exhibition in London in 1884-5. In order to forestall the usual pirate productions, an English company was smuggled into New York and gave the first American performance, at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, on July 20th 1885 with a run of 250 performances.
The following discussion is a compilation of the thoughts and opinions of subscribers to the Savoynet Maillist between April 17th and May 17th 1997. It should be noted that, while many of the contributors have performed in, and/or extensively researched, The Mikado, the following opinions reflect the personal views of the individual contributors to which they are attributed.
The archivist's comments, which are generally kept to a minimum, are given in italics in order to distinguish them from the main discussion. The original words of the individual contributors have been retained with, in general, only light editing. However, verbosity did rear its head on some occasions and judicious pruning was undertaken where necessary. A total of 273 individual postings were finally selected for inclusion and, in order to allow the readers as much freedom as possible in navigating through these, a comprehensive index has been compiled. Just follow the HTML links to those parts of the discussion that appeal to you.
Many Savoynetters are fond of using acronyms for some common (and, occasionally, uncommon) phrases. However, for others in the group these remain a profound mystery and even an irritant. I had originally thought of substituting the complete phrase where these occurred in the discussions but that would be to remove what is a characteristic aspect of Savoynet postings. Instead, I have left them untouched but provided Appendix One where all those that occur in these discussions are translated.
INDEX1. General thoughts about the Opera
1.1 Mikado - Aaaargh!2. The Plot
2.1 Essentially a Farce3. The Music
3.1 General Observations4. The Libretto
4.1 One Catalogue too Many?5. The characters
6.1 THAT Handshake7. Recordings
7.1 Film8. Also Happened in 1885
8.1 David Duffey's Patter9. Mikadiana
9.1 Web Sites10. Appendix 1
10.1 Acronyms translated
Page created 19 March 1999