TTU Opera Theatre presents Gilbert & Sullivan's hilarious "The Mikado"

The Texas Tech University School of Music will host two performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s famous comic opera The Mikado, presented by students in the TTU Opera Theatre program with musical collaboration from students in the University Symphony Orchestra. The first performance is at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 3), and the second performance is at 2:00 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 5). Both performances will be held in the Allen Theatre of the TTU Student Union Building (SUB). TTU Opera Theatre director Gerald Dolter is the stage director for this production, and Daniel Kleinknecht of Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre will provide musical direction.

Tickets for the two performances are available either at the door prior to the performances, or online at, where they can be purchased from the School of Music’s Eventbrite page. Cash, checks, and cards will be accepted at the door. General admission tickets are $15 each (plus tax), senior and non-TTU student tickets are $10 each (plus tax), and TTU students with a valid student ID receive free admission.

From the classic theatrical duo that created The Pirates of Penzance and H.M.S. Pinafore, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan produced in 1885 what would become the most successful of the so-called "Savoy Operas" that ran at the Savoy Theatre in London. Richard D’Oyly Carte built the Theatre itself exclusively for the promotion and presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan's productions, and The Mikado has since taken on an enduring role as one of the most widely programmed musical theatre works of all time.

When trade relations with Japan had just been opened in England in the late nineteenth century and Japanese art styles and goods became fashionable in the high streets of London, Gilbert and Sullivan seized the moment and set The Mikado in a fanciful feudal Japan in order to veil their satirization of contemporary British politics. The tactic was especially successful since all of the titular roles and institutions – even "the Mikado" himself – disguised the otherwise excoriating jokes. According to Gilbert, "The Mikado of the opera was an imaginary monarch of a remote period and cannot by any exercise of ingenuity be taken to be a slap on an existing institution."

The plot begins in chaotic hijinks, as Nanki-Poo has fled from the court of his father, the Mikado of Japan, to escape marriage with an elderly lady, named Katisha. Assuming the disguise of a musician, he then falls in love with a fair maiden, Yum-Yum; but he has been prevented from marrying her by her guardian, Ko-Ko, who wishes to marry her himself. Ko-Ko, however, has been condemned to death for flirting (part of the illogical plot devices that Gilbert and Sullivan were so fond of deploying). When the curtain rises on the first act, Nanki-Poo is hastening to the court of Ko-Ko in Titipu to find out whether Yum-Yum is now free to marry him.


Ben Robinette


School of Music