By Micah Pasinski
OSWEGO, N.Y.– The Oswego Opera Theatre presented a special performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan comedic opera, “The Mikado” on November 11th and 12th. The Mikado was the ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations written between the famous musical duo, Arthur Sullivan and W.S Gilbert. It has remained incredibly popular to this day since it’s 1885 opening in London with many professional theatre companies still performing it.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedic opera is a British piece set in Japan. This was done because the creators thought Japan was a far enough place away from their homeland of Britain to give them the freedom to satirize Victorian British politics and institutions of the time, by disguising them as Japanese.
The Oswego Opera Theatre took inspiration from the play’s original satirical nature and used the production as a way in which to poke fun at a lot of what has been dominating our political news lately. They even went so far as to having jokes pertaining to the Trump-Russia Scandal and a character in the show who was strikingly similar in appearance to 2016 Democratic Party Presidential Nominee, Hillary Clinton.
SUNY Oswego Orchestral and Artistic Director, and Conductor of “The Mikado” Dr. Juan Francisco La Manna said that the political aspect is all a part of what makes the show still relevant and enjoyable for audiences to see today.
“The great thing is that it can translate into today’s politics and world very well, so we took probably ninety percent of the substance of the script and adapted it so it would become really relevant,” said La Manna.
“The Mikado” is known as one of the most played musical theatre pieces in history. It was even estimated that before the end of 1885, its premiere year, 150 companies were already producing the opera.