Sullivan's ingenious melodic brilliance, derived from his vivid sense of satire, and Gilbert's witty libretto make "The Mikado" one of the most widely performed of all operettas. The parody of British Victorian life, spice... more »d with the usual topical allusions to English customs and institutions, set in a Japanese Never-Never Land, is performed by The Australian Opera. The lavish production is masterfully conducted by Andrew Greene and beautifully directed by Christopher Renshaw.« less
"I am an opera and Gilbert and Sullivan buff. I also am willing to try new versions and am willing to accept unusual variants of an opera. Technically, this opera suffers from the same problems that the Gondoliers from Australia Opera suffers from. In particular, the audio is poor. As the singers move about the stage, the sound level varies. This is very distracting. The enunciation of the singers was execellent, however, and remains the sole bright spot of this performance.Artistically, this opera suffers from a near disdain upon the stage director's attitude towards the opera. He has mixed Victorian and Chinese clothes together on the same people. I can accept this. However, he also has the characters popping out of jugs, cabinets, etc. and riding on jugs. The school girls come in on a train, The three sisters fight and squabble, etc. This becomes distracting quickly and then becomes annoying. They throw the good lines from Gilbert away and attempt to make other lines funny. It got so bad that my wife and I stopped watching this DVD. We have never made up our minds before without seeing the complete opera, but this was so bad and seemed to be more interested in spoofing the Mikado than playing the Mikado.There is the usual alterations to Koko's list to make it relevant to the time and place of the opera and I can accept this with no real problems. When Nanki-Poo blows a note in "A wandering minstrel I", we were willing to accept this as a price of an actual performance. But the audio problems that were fairly consistent, the apparent disdain on the part of the stage director, and the mugging of the singers became too overwhelming to enjoy the performance at all.A far better DVD of this light opera is the Stratford Festival perfromance [...]. The singing isn't quite as good but the staging is imaginative, sprightly, and very enjoyable."
Stanley H. Nemeth | Garden Grove, CA United States | 05/12/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"It's startling that this performance was released at all on DVD without a disclaimer on the backside informing the buyer that it is frequently inaudible. I wish I had read the bulk of the ... reviews before I purchased the set, for the warnings in just about all of them are exactly on target. Voices and music veer in and out of focus or range to an alarming degree for a 1990 production. The sound puts me in mind of the hilariously amateurish miking in an early talkie such as the one parodied in "Singing In The Rain." Since the production is such a recent one, I'm left wondering whether the unacceptable sound can in fact be the work of Opera Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ..."
Poor sound, uneven acting hurt Aussie MIKADO
Hazen B Markoe | St. Paul, MN United States | 06/27/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I wanted to like this production of Gilbert & Sullivan's classic opera of Japanese hijinks, this Opera Australia production was marred by both uneven performances and a DVD soundtrack that borders on the poor side.
It's truly a shame as there is much to like in this production. The costumes, a curious mix of British and Japanese styles, are very colorful and fun. The set, with it's almost "Alice in Wonderland" feel, is both majestic and involving. It also boasts some very solid performances in Heather Begg's touching, if nasty, Katisha and the sly rendition of Pooh-Bah by Gregory Yurisich. Anne-Maree McDonald is a delicious Yum-Yum, while Robert Eddie makes for an imposing, if a tad bland, Mikado. Unfortunately, Graeme Ewer's Ko-Ko is all mock posture and no heart. Indeed, it is one of the flattest performances of the role that I have ever seen. His only triumph is his plaintive and touching performance of the "Titwillow" song. Jennifer Bermingham's Pitti-Sing is much too harsh to be likable, while Peter Cousen's Nanki-Poo comes across like a smarmy brat. Add to that a soundtrack that is very soft in volume and flat, and you have a MIKADO that is pure frustration to watch. This might be worth your time to at least catch the high points mentioned, but there are other and better versions of this classic available for you to own and enjoy. Recommended for MIKADO completists only....otherwise avoid this one."
A Plate of Cheese
charles-stuart | 01/25/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If you've just seen Topsy Turvy and would like to get the full performance of The Mikado, look elsewhere other than this cheesy Australian production that is more mean-spirited in it's sendup of this classic comic opera than entertaining. I half-expected to hear boos coming from the live audience yet they obediently clapped after every number.Still, this might be an interesting rendition to compare to others if the production quality was anywhere close to that of, say, any Sondheim show on video/DVD. Imagine, if you will, those dust-covered VHS tapes of your old high school operetta and you'll come close to what this "DVD" offers. The sound is deplorable and most dialogue is unintelligible. The fact that there is a 5.1 choice for the sound is a joke. It is a purely mono soundtrack with no resonance at all. If the singers had only been mic'd you might be able to hear but it sounds like they were using off stage microphones. I'm not sure.The cast is heavy on silliness and low on singing talent. The costumes and set is a mish-mash of styles and periods that they probably thought was brilliant and revolutionary. Imagine in 100 years when someone decides to do Les Miserables in glo-in-the-dark spandex tights in the name of originality. Know what I mean? Leave it alone!One can only wonder why they wanted to commit this tripe to a recording. Don't waste your money."
Please read reviews before purchasing
Malcolm H. Applegate | West Sussex | 02/11/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Having just recently purchasd the Patience DVD by the same Opera Company. I thought l was going to be again pleasantly surprised by the production. How wrong l was. The sound is appalling. Image Entertainment should be ashamed of themselves for distributing such rubbish. Whilst the production is OK, it will never match any of the old or even the recent D'Oyly Carte productions. Had the sound been what we now expect from DVD's, my wife and l would have watched this all the way through, but as it was, we only managed to get to "Three little maids from school". We had then had enough and the DVD is going in the waste bin."