The Mikado : Work information

Composers
Arthur (Seymour) Sullivan ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Susan Bullock (Soprano), Jean Rigby (Alto), Felicity Palmer (Soprano), Richard Van Allan (Bass), Bonaventura Bottone (Voice), Richard Angas (Voice), Eric Idle (Voice), Mark Richardson (Voice), Lesley Garrett (Voice), English National Opera Orchestra, Peter Robinson (Conductor)

This work

Work name
The Mikado
Work number
n/a
Key
n/a
Genre
A
Composed
1885-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Label
JAY Records
Producer
n/a
Engineer
n/a
Recording date
n/a

The Composers

Arthur (Seymour) Sullivan

The man famous as half of the opera-writing duo Gilbert and Sullivan was a gifted composer and musician in his own right. He was born on May 13th 1842 into a very encouraging musical family - by the time he was eight the young Sullivan had written his own anthem, and by ten he had mastered all the wind instruments in his father's Royal Military College band.  He won scholarships for several conservatories and academies, and when he had finished at the last in Germany, he returned to England, wrote incidental music for 'The Tempest' and became famous - at age 20. He was professor of composition at the Royal Academy and conducted the Royal Philharmonic between 1885 and 1887, and was quite a society man, friends with monarchs across Europe.

In 1867 he collaborated on Cox and the Box and The Contrabandista with the writer F C Brunand, revealing a talent for comic opera.  And in 1871 to 1896 he worked with W S Gilbert on fourteen comic operas, including Trial by Jury (1875), H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), The Mikado (1885), The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), and The Gondoliers (1889).  Sullivan had a gift for writing great melodies and for musical parody of traditional types of song, and he invented too new forms of comic song, such as the patter song - a long, rapidly delivered text to a light tune of restricted vocal range.

Some of Sullivan's most beautiful music was composed while he was in intense pain from the kidney stones that plagued him for the 28 years before his death on 22nd November 1900.  His later works include the grand opera Ivanhoe (1891), Onward Christian Soldiers (1872) and a Te Deum (1897).

Track listing

  • If You Want To Know Who We Are 3:06 min
  • A Wand'ring Minstrel I 4:14 min
  • Our Great Mikado, Virtuous Man 3:12 min
  • Young Man, Despair, Likewise To Go 2:37 min
  • Behold The Lord High Executioner 2:37 min
  • Comes A Train Of Little Ladies 2:14 min
  • Three Little Maids 1:27 min
  • So Please You, Sir, We Much Regret 1:52 min
  • Were You Not To Ko-Ko Plighted 2:16 min
  • Finale Act One 13:06 min
  • Act II: Braid The Raven Hair 3:24 min
  • The Sun, Whose Rays Are All Ablaze 2:55 min
  • Here's A How-De-Do! 1:17 min
  • A Human Mikado Never Did In Japan Exist 4:22 min
  • The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring 1:36 min
  • Alone, And Yet Alive 3:14 min
  • On A Tree By A River 2:52 min
  • There Is Beuty In The Bellow Of The Blast 2:14 min
  • I've Got A Little List 2:49 min

Notes

The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu, is a comic opera in two acts with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations. It opened on March 14, 1885 in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances, which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. Before the end of 1885 it was estimated that in Europe and America at least 150 companies were producing the opera. The Mikado remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera, and it is especially popular with amateur and school productions. The work has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history.

Setting the opera in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain allowed Gilbert to satirize British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese. Gilbert used foreign or fictional locales in several operas including The Mikado, Princess Ida, The Gondoliers, Utopia Limited, and The Grand Duke, to soften the impact of his pointed satire of British institutions.