Victoria Arts Guide
- Page 24
It’s all in the execution
‘The Mikado’ tackles decades-old controversy

The Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society (VGSS) presents Gilbert and Sullivan’s familiar ‘The Mikado’ (1885), with a twist that places the history and inspiration for the operetta at centre stage. The all-new production includes the entire libretto of the original with an additional scene — a prologue and revised performance practices, and avoids the parodies of Japanese fashion and culture that have created controversy for many years.

Gilbert’s dry British wit and Sullivan’s sweeping orchestrations are in top form in ‘The Mikado’, making the operetta one of the most performed of their 14 collaborations. Set in a fictional Japanese town, the musical lampoons British society and English ways of life. The story has stood the test of time. The characters are iconic — the music unforgettable. With its upcoming production, VGSS is helping to preserve ‘The Mikado’ by making it meaningful to modern audiences.

VGSS is delighted to present the Canadian premiere of ‘The Mikado’ with a new Prologue, ‘The Mikado Re-Imagined’. The result of collaboration with the Asian-American theatrical community, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ critically acclaimed production of ‘The Mikado’ premiered in New York in 2017. Performances began with a short, original ‘Prologue, The Mikado: Re-imagined’, written by David Auxier-Loyola of NYGASP.

The scene introduces real-life members of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company of Victorian London and frames ‘The Mikado’ and its portrayal of Japan as a dream of writer W.S. Gilbert’s, influenced by Japanese artifacts from a London exhibition. The Prologue serves as an example of a cooperative effort to promote diversity, equity and inclusive practice with classic works of art.

‘The Mikado’ is directed and choreographed by Heather-Elayne Day. Music director is Tom Mitchell. Set design is by Christopher Green with costume design by Norma Jee and lighting design by Elizabeth Martin. The production features more than 40 volunteers (cast and production) from the community plus a professional, 16piece orchestra conducted by Tom Mitchell. VGSS acknowledges the generous support of the CRD Arts Development Service. See ‘The Mikado’ performed by the VGSS.

Performances: Nov. 2, 3 and 4 Dave Dunnet Theatre, Oak Bay High School, Nov. 9, 10 and 11 at the Charlie White Theatre, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney.

More info at: gilbertandsullivanvictoria.ca