RISING SUN OPERA THE MIKADO OPENS ON THE COAST
T hit the stage in 1885, but Japanese-themed musical comedy The Mikado has maintained its tongue-in-cheek humour which captivates audiences worldwide. Opera Queensland’s new production of the classic has been hailed a winner by critics after its Brisbane season and now it’s Gold Coast audiences’ chance to find out why. The production, by director Stuart Maunder, arrives on the Coast this weekend to launch its regional tour.
Maunder was joined by designer Simone Romaniuk and choreographer Siobhan Ginty for the new interpretation of the comic operetta. Maunder says The Mikado will be a great night out. ‘‘This is a universal piece with witty dialogue, ridiculous situations and glorious melodies,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s lasted over 100 years and is still the mostperformed, most-loved in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon.’’
Fusing traditional Japanese looks with modern Harajuku street styles, Romaniuk has created eclectic costumes which are illuminated on stage.
Maestro Brian Castles-Onion, who conducts the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Ensemble and Opera Queensland Ensemble, says every onstage role in The Mikado ‘‘is riddled with wit and charm’’.
‘‘Like the perfect souffle, the score is a combination of the right ingredients, in correct proportion, with exactly the right balance of fluff and fullness,’’ he says. ‘‘This operetta always satisfies the palate.’’ The Mikado follows absurd an storyline where flirting is a capital crime punishable by death, and Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for behaving amorously.
Actor Eugene Gilfedder says at first he found the idea of playing Ko-Ko ‘‘daunting’’.
‘‘Groucho Marx and Eric Idle are some of the great actors who have played Ko-Ko before me,’’ he says. ‘‘I had a legacy staring down at me. ‘‘Ko-Ko is a good-hearted flirter. He is a funny enjoyable fool. I enjoy clowning around as him.’’
Gilfedder says the ‘‘legendary’’ opera has produced a swag of wonderful, well-known songs.
‘‘ As Some Day it May Happen, Three Little Maids From School and The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring – they have become light opera hits,’’ he says. ‘‘Anyone who knows The Mikado will know the songs.’’ Gilfedder says The Mikado is a ‘‘light and charming’’ piece of opera.
‘‘The Gold Coast can expect to be charmed and come out smiling,’’ he says.
‘‘It is a great joy to carry on the charm of it. The audience will have a good time.’’
plays The Arts Centre Gold Coast on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets are $52.
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A scene from Opera Queensland’s new production of – featuring (from left) little maids (in pink) Deborah Rogers (Peep-Bo), Kristy Swift (Yum-Yum) and Emily Burke (PittiSing) and Eugene Gilfedder (as Ko-Ko) – which plays the Gold Coast this weekend.