the mikado

the mikado is an operetta which was written by gilbert and sullivan and first performed in 1885.
the operetta is highly comedic, satirical depiction of life in the j-panese town of t-tipu. while the plot appears to be poking fun at j-panese tradition, it is actually a cleverly disguised parody of british politics. the plot follows nanki-poo, the son of j-pan’s lordlike mikado, in his attempts to woo the fair yum-yum away from her fiance ko-ko, whilst avoiding the affections of his own betrothed, the elderly katisha.

the male roles in the mikado are:
-the mikado (b-ss)
-nanki-poo, his son (tenor)
-ko-ko, the lord high executioner (baritone)
-pooh-bah, the lord high everything else (baritone)
-pish-tush, a n-bleman (baritone or b-ss)

the female roles in the mikado are:
-yum-yum, ko-ko’s betrothed (soprano)
-peep-bo, a ward of ko-ko (soprano)
-pitti-sing, her sister (mezzo-soprano)
-katisha, a n-blewoman (contralto)

however, sometimes people with different ranges can play various roles in the operetta. pitti-sing can be successfully sung by an alto, while any female singer could play katisha as long as she has a low range. if the actor playing pish-tush cannot hit a bottom f, another character, go-to, may be played by a b-ss to sing pish-tush’s lower parts.
the most famous song from the mikado is “three little maids from school.”

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