Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Mikado- Gilbert And Sullivan / Australian Opera|
Actor: Peter Cousens
Director: Andrew Greene
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Australian Opera's colorful production of The Mikado is an experience designed to seduce the eye, charm the ear and tickle the rib. — Wit, ingenuity, and a veritable riot of colourful and restless spectacle — continue to... more »
Dated, but still good
Freddie | Gold Coast, Australia | 08/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is possible the least spectacular of the Opera Australia Gilbert & Sullivan DVDs, possibly due to the fact that it is over 20 years old and now rather dated. Having said that, it is still a polished and enjoyable performance and ranks well compared to productions by most other companies, as indeed do all the Opera Australia Gilbert & Sullivan DVDs.
The cast do a great job, both in their singing and acting. Anne-Maree McDonald is one of the most convincing Yum Yums I have seen, cleverly letting us see the conceit of the character that is all but hidden under the sweet frame. The highlight performance for me, however, is Heather Begg's portrayal of Katisha. Heather gives a powerful and dynamic performance that captures the essence of the character perfectly.
Some "contemporary" use of humour is used during the Pooh-Bah & Nanki-Poo exchange concerning Pooh-Bah's various roles that makes references to the Australian political scene that existed at that time (1987). Some of this humour may be lost to non-Australians or even younger Australians that were not familiar with the era. It is otherwise, fairly loyal to the original script.
On the downside, the sets are a little bit flat and unimaginative, but one can generally overlook these things when presented with such polished performances. All in all, another great performance by Opera Australia."
Fair to partly cloudy....
J. Scott | Chapel Hill, NC | 04/09/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1988 Mikado at 21 years of age does lack many of the more up-to-date production qualities that would make this a more desirable DVD. Sound quality was inconsistent; it seemed like the performers were occasionally too far from microphones so it sounded as if they were singing from the other side of the stage. This becomes a major consideration when you consider the wordiness of the Gilbert and Sullivan libretto. If you're a fan of following along with the story and catching all the lyrics, this is not your Mikado.
The other distractor was the costuming. In this production, they blended the traditional Japanese period costumes with 19th Century Victorian elements that were more annoying then amusing. I could've done without the briefcases, black umbrellas and derby hats on the men's chorus as well as Nanki Poo's pimped out bicycle festooned with streamers and a handlebar basket.
Also a distraction were 1980s period references in comic ad libs to Crocodile Dundee and obscure Australian politicians that are unknown to the rest of us.
Having said all that, performance-wise, Heather Begg was exceptional as Katisha. Pooh Bah (John Yurisich), Pish-Tush (?), and the Mikado himself(Robert Eddie) were fine operatic singers so they could be enjoyed, however, Ko-Ko (Graham Ewer) left much to be desired with his silliness and apparent rushing through some of his numbers. He murdered "Taken From the County Jail" singing as if he couldn't wait to get through it. Not sure why they arranged it that way but he was obvioulsy in collusion with the orchestra who played right along at record speed. Peter Cousens as Nanki Poo made about as weak a showing as any I have ever seen in any male lead in a musical performance. One wonders where they got him and why? Anne Maree MacDonald as Yum Yum did a fine job and saved Cousens on more than one occasion by balancing out his tepid singing with her lovely soprano.
All in all, I would suggest looking around a little more before I spent twenty-five bucks on this Mikado, particularly if you like your G&S less adulterated."
Perfection... In All But
B. Poole | Alexandria VA USA | 10/26/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Australia Opera knows how to stage Gilbert and Sullivan brilliantly, but this Mikado has many weaknesses. It is an early version staged without the direction of dedicated Savoyard Stuart Maunder who later improved it in the 2004 production greatly. It also had David Hobson as Nanki-Poo and Anthony Warlow as Ko-Ko who take their characters seriously and impart them to their audiences. If there was a TV production at the time, that is the version to release.
My criticisms of this performance has to do with the effort needed to sort out visual details of set, costumes, extreme makeup and keep up with the never ending and very heavy handed comic business.Kept characters from developing. Some of the story needed to be simply told. As a company manager observed of this production at the time, that it lacked "sweetness".
The lovely Anne-Marie McDonald was at her best singing "The Moon and I". Peter Cousens, imported from the Australian musical theater, was a very bland Nanki-Poo and had no feel for G&S and I wished for him a more operatic voice. Graham Ewer had an uninteresting interpretation of Ko-Ko, but no matter, the words of Gilbert shine through. The highlight of the production is Heather Begg's magnificent Katisha. Maybe the best ever.
I recommend all Opera Australia G&S productions but hope it is possible to have the update version of The Mikado 2004 ,or the coming 2009 production to replace this one. That happening, we will have "attained happiness" in "perfection" and not "in all but".
L. Wernicki | NY, USA | 10/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Using a traditional score and a concept setting, the operetta comes alive in a new way. Peter Cousens brings a musical comedy interpretation to his Nnnki-Poo, while the set is changed to a Victorian Orientalia shop in London. Anne-Maree McDonald is a very traditional Yum-Yum, adding different elements which work as a whole."