“Laugh out loud stuff” – The Australian
It’s just three months until Gilbert & Sullivan’s most famous comic opera gets a Valentine’s Day opening at Auckland’s new ASB Waterfront Theatre, before heading down the line for Wellington and Christchurch stops in a month-long run.
Set in an imaginary Japanese town, the satire is directed fairly and squarely at the British and their love of bureaucracy – something that hasn’t changed since The Mikado debuted in 1885. This production gets the modern treatment, transporting us to present-day Japan, complete with Hello Kitty, smartphones and Harajuku style and a hero that is every schoolgirl’s pop crush.
Self-confessed Gilbert and Sullivan tragic Stuart Maunder directs, calling The Mikado a brilliant marriage of words and music that is zany, wildly colourful and “very subtle, in a sledgehammer kind of way.”
“I’m thrilled with the calibre of the cast we’re bringing together for this season, a few New Zealand Opera stalwarts and some exciting young talent from here and Australia.”
The vibrant Helen Medlyn backs up a brilliant season as the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd as Katisha in this production. A rising star with Opera Australia, Kiwi Jonathan Abernethy returns home to play the swoon-worthy Nanki-Poo and familiar faces James Clayton and Robert Tucker are back with us as The Mikado and Pish Tush respectively. Busy Australian singer Andrew Collis (Pooh-Bah) is equally at home in Gilbert & Sullivan, Rossini and John Adams – he was last in New Zealand as Nixon in China’s Kissinger, and prior to that as the side-splitting Don Magnifico in La cenerentola.
It’s exciting to have Byron Coll join the cast as the crucial comic role of Ko-Ko – aside from a busy stage and film career, Coll is a household face as All Blacks superfan Tim of the Mastercard series of advertisements. And what would The Mikado be without the Three Little Maids, with New York-based Amelia Berry as the delectable Yum Yum, Opera Australia principal artist Anna Dowsley as Pitti-Sing and Barbara Graham, another New Zealand Opera regular, as Peep-Bo.
The principals are supported by a 14-strong ensemble, which like Sweeney Todd, have been handpicked from the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus nationwide, giving the opportunity to tour with the production to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The ensemble includes 2017 Dame Malvina Major Scholars Eliza Boom, Olivia Sheat and Jamie Henare.
Australian Music Director Isaac Hayward will conduct the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Don’t miss this wildly colourful production of one of music’s great comedy masterpieces.
New Zealand Opera presents
ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland
Tickets from asbwaterfronttheatre.co.nz and ticketmaster.co.nz
Opera House, Wellington
25 February – 2 March
Tickets from ticketek.co.nz
Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
7 -11 March
Tickets from ticketek.co.nz