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Yum-Yum! Regina Opera does ‘The Mikado’

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Let’s face it, everyone loves “The Mikado.”

The satirical Gilbert and Sullivan light musical was Regina Opera’s most successful productions when staged nearly 10 years ago, so the Bay Ridge troupe decided to bring it back with a full-scale production from March 5 to 13.

“Operetta is not our bread and butter — we tend toward bigger pieces like ‘Tosca’ and ‘Madame Butterfly’ — so this was a nice addition,” said director Linda Lehr.

Set during late 1800s Japan, the comic plot follows the love affairs of the royal residents of Titipu: the Mikado; the elderly Katisha, who is set to marry the Mikado’s son, Nanki-Poo; his dear love, Yum-Yum; and her fiancee, Ko-Ko.

The Japanese setting was mainly a device to allow the writers to satirize Victorian mores at a time — 1885 — when such things were not done. Still, there’s some authenticity in the company’s production; Regina soprano Yoko Yamashita, who was trained in Japanese classical dance, has been helping with the choreography.

“Our show goes from real Japanese dance all the way to British musical vaudeville choreograp­hy,” said Lehr. “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

“The Mikado” at Regina Hall [1210 65th St. at 12th Avenue in Bay Ridge, (718) 259-2772], March 5-6, 12-13 at 3 pm. Tickets $23 ($18 for students and seniors, $5 for teens, and free for children). For info, visit www.reginaopera.org.

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
can someone tell me what the PC answer is here?

is it PC to only cast japanese people in the japanese roles or is the PC thing casting non-Japanese people in the japanese roles (as long as they aren't white people)...cuz I know it is un-PC to cast white people in the Japanese roles...I distinctly remember the brouhaha when Jonathan Price was cast as the half japanese/half white guy in Madame Butterfly (or whatever that musical is called.)
March 1, 2011, 2:55 pm
Jonathan from HK says:
If you want to go with authenticity, then the entire cast would have to be made up of British performers, as the opera originates from England's greatest composers. The OPERA Madama Butterfly [sic] would then be entirely cast with Italian performers since it premiered in Italy.

As for casting Japanese to play Japanese, I'm all for it -- IF they can vocally serve the music the way the composer intended. You also run into the problem that arts organizations will never be able to find enough performers to cast certain shows and, therefore, those shows would then go un-performed.

Do you enjoy the performers? Does it matter what ethnicity they are? Who cares as long as they can sing beautifully and bring a believable performance. What it should all boil down to is having an enjoyable time at the theatre no matter WHO is performing.

So, using your PC term, cast "white people" if they serve the composer's ART FORM.

And tell the person who is offended to stop taking it personally.....it's not about THEM. The company did not cast a "white person" just to offend ONE person in the audience.
March 2, 2011, 12:44 pm
Alexis from Bay Ridge says:
To Jonathan: To quote from the show- "The Japanese equivalent of Hear! Hear! Hear!"

Anytime you embark on a classic production, you have to deal with the perceptions of the past. It doesn't matter if it's The Merchant of Venice or Otello or Anything Goes: If it's truly a classic piece it can still shed light on aspects of humanity we all share.
March 11, 2011, 10:23 am

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