Continuation of revival after early closure of The Grand Duke. Savoy Theatre 27 March Second Savoy repertory season; played with five other operas. Closing date shown is of the entire season. Art by Alice B. The Mikado is a comedy that deals with themes of death and cruelty. This works only because Gilbert treats these themes as trivial, even lighthearted issues.
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Setting and story summary The Mikado is set in the s, in the imaginary Japanese town of Titipu. The nobles ask who he is. The young man explains that he had fallen in love with her at first sight a year before, but she was then engaged to Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo has since learned that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for flirting, so he has come to find her. Ko-Ko orders him removed and then introduces the girls to the lofty Pooh-Bah, who is offended by their giggling.
He has had to disguise himself to avoid being married off to the elderly Katisha. They kiss and depart in sorrow. The Mikado is disappointed with the lack of executions and threatens to abolish the office of Lord High Executioner and to lower the status of the town of Titipu to a mere village, unless somebody is beheaded within a month. Ko-Ko is technically next up for execution, as his colleagues point out, but he argues that beheading himself would, for one thing, be suicide a capital offense and, for another, constitute an act that he could not perform up to his own standards.
Nanki-Poo enters, intending to hang himself. Nanki-Poo agrees after some argument but only on condition that he be allowed to marry Yum-Yum immediately, with the execution to be held a month later. General rejoicing ensues but is interrupted by the imperious Katisha. Katisha vows revenge. Nanki-Poo and Pish-Tush enter and try to cheer her up. Ko-Ko comes in to announce that he has discovered a law that decrees that when a married man is executed, his wife is to be buried alive. Nanki-Poo again threatens to commit suicide, but Ko-Ko cannot allow that—if he does not officially execute Nanki-Poo within a month, he will have to execute himself.
Ko-Ko then hits on the idea of making a false affidavit stating that Nanki-Poo has already been executed. He agrees that Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum can be married at once, as long as they leave for good. Although the Mikado is pleased to hear this, his real purpose in coming is to find his son, who is using the name Nanki-Poo. In a panic, Ko-Ko declares that he has gone abroad—to Knightsbridge.
Ko-Ko and his confederates abjectly apologize. Dancing, everyone leaves. Ko-Ko arrives and begins to woo her passionately. But Katisha pleads for mercy for Ko-Ko, whom she has just married, and for the others. The Mikado hesitates because he believes they executed his son, but Nanki-Poo appears. Katisha erupts in fury. Ko-Ko then defuses the situation in an ingenious way. With everyone reconciled and content, the people of Titipu rejoice and celebrate the marriage of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum.
The Mikado Libretto