The Mikado

By Gilbert & Sullivan

Directed by Kathleen Conklin. Musical direction by Randall A. Meder, assisted by Molly T. Weiss

Before the action of the opera begins, Nanki-Poo has fled from the court of his father, the Mikado of Japan, to escape marriage with an elderly lady, named Katisha. Assuming the disguise of a musician, he has fallen in love with a fair maiden, Yum-Yum; but he has been prevented from marrying her by her guardian, Ko-Ko, who wishes to marry her himself. Ko-Ko, however has been condemned to death for flirting; and, when Act I opens, Nanki-Poo is hastening to the court of Ko-Ko in Titipu to find out whether Yum-Yum is now free to marry him.

From Pooh-Bah (a corrupt and proud public official) and Pish-Tush (a nobleman), Nanki-Poo learns that Ko-Ko has, instead, become Lord High Executioner, thus preventing the sentence of decapitation from being carried out. Ko-Ko is, in fact, going to marry Yum-Yum that very afternoon.

Everything seems to be going well for Ko-Ko, but suddenly a letter comes from the Mikado ordering him to execute somebody or else lose his position of Lord High Executioner. He is in a quandary to find someone to execute, when Nanki-Poo appears, bent upon suicide because he cannot marry Yum-Yum. By conceding to him the right to marry Yum-Yum for a month, Ko-Ko persuades Nanki-Poo to be the subject for the public execution when that month is up. There is general rejoicing in this apparent solution to the problem, marred only by the unexpected appearance of Katisha, in quest of the vanished object of her affections, Nanki-Poo. She is driven away, but threatens to go to the Mikado about the matter.

Act II opens with Yum-Yum preparing for her marriage with Nanki-Poo. As all are singing a "merry madrigal," Ko-Ko comes in with the news that he has just discovered a law stating that when a married man is executed his wife must be buried alive. To save Yum-Yum from that fate, Nanki-Poo decides to kill himself at once. But this again throws Ko-Ko into a quandary to find someone to execute (especially as he has heard that the Mikado is at that moment on his way to Titipu). Nanki-Poo magnanimously offers himself for immediate decapitation, but Ko-Ko is unable to perform the act without some practice.

Another way out of the difficulty presents itself: Ko-Ko has Pooh-Bah make a false affidavit that Nanki-Poo has been executed, and bids Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum leave the country.

The Mikado soon appears. Ko-Ko thinks that the object of this visit is to see whether the execution has taken place. He accordingly produces the affidavit and describes with gusto the execution. But the Mikado has actually come at the prompting of Katisha in search of his lost son. When the fact transpires that the person whom Ko-Ko has supposedly executed is really the Mikado's son, Ko-Ko and his accomplices are declared guilty of "compassing the death of the Heir Apparent." The only hope for them is to admit the falsehood of the affidavit and produce Nanki-Poo alive. But, as Nanki-Poo has already married Yum-Yum and so cannot marry Katisha, Katisha will surely insist on the execution of Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum. Ko-Ko solves the problem by offering his hand to Katisha; and, after he sings her the touching ballad of "Willow, tit-willow", she accepts him. The end of the opera comes with Nanki-Poo's discovering himself as the son of the Mikado.

Produced by Madison Savoyards, Ltd. at U.W. Wisconsin Union Theater, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street,Madison

Performances: July 24 - August 9, 1998

Performance Times: July 24 7:00 pm
July 25 7:00 pm
July 26 2:30 pm
July 31 7:00 pm
August 1 7:00 pm
August 2 2:30 pm
Tour to UW-Whitewater, Sun, Aug 9, matinee

Ticket Prices:

Call 608-231-9005 for reservations or more information.

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Cast Profiles

Bert N. Adams (Mikado) has performed with Madison Opera since 1965, having done 29 roles. He has performed Papageno and Don Giovanni recently in Nairobi, Kenya. In the past six months, he has been Scrooge in the Savoyards' Christmas Carol, Mr. Lavendar-Gas in Madison Opera's Help, Help, the Globolinks (now a CD), and Noye in Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde. This is the golden anniversary of his very first role on stage: "Pooh-Bah" as a sophomore in high school.

Andrew Eley (Pish-Tush) is excited to join the Savoyards for the first time. He will be a senior at Luther College in the fall, finishing his degree in music education. He has been involved in choir and has appeared in several theater productions at Luther.

Martha Fischer (Pitti-Sing) is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches piano and accompanying. She and her husband Bill Lutes have been touring the region with their Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) review entitled Innocent Merriment. She is a veteran G&S enthusiast and performed the role of the Fairy Queen in Iolanthe with the Victorian Lyric Opera in Washington D.C. This is her first Savoyards' production.

Randall Johnson (Pooh-Bah) rejoins the Savoyards after a six-year hiatus for the opportunity, just once in his lifetime, to be treated like the Grand Pooh-Bah, his wife and daughters having declined to fulfill that fantasy. He has been seen most recently as the King in MATC Performing Arts production of The King and I and as Mr. Smith, the father, in CTM's production of Meet Me In St. Louis.

Sarah Lawrence (Yum-Yum) is thrilled to return for another summer with the Savoyards. She appeared as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance in 1996. Other recent roles include Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Madison's Opera for the Young, Anne Page in Dorian Opera Theatre's Merry Wives of Windsor and Barbarina in Cambridge Chamber Opera's Le Nozze di Figaro. Ms. Lawrence has participated in the Phyllis Curtin Seminar at Tanglewood, and recently sang with the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall. In October, Ms. Lawrence won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Eastern Wisconsin District Auditions. She is very excited to be in another show with her brother, Tom, and all the other Stoughton natives!

Tom Lawrence (Go-To) has performed in six productions with The Madison Savoyards since Utopia, Ltd. Lawrence is also a board member. He has sung with the Madison Symphony Chorus, Festival Choir of Madison, and Luther College Opera. He was seen as Captain Hayes in Mazomanie R&R Company's fall production of Executions and more recently as Pooh-Bah in The Madison Savoyards' December production of A Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas Carol. He is pleased to share the stage again with his sister, Sarah.

Bill Lutes (Ko-Ko) is director of the NPR News and Classical Music Network of Wisconsin Public Radio. Previous roles with Savoyards were Bunthorne in Patience and Jack Point in Yeomen of the Guard. Bill has degrees in piano from UW- Madison and the New England Conservatory, and frequently performs with his wife, Martha Fischer, in duet recitals, and evenings of G&S. Bill and Martha's two children, Katie and Nathaniel, are also budding Savoyards.

Kara Noah (Peep-Bo) is very excited to be performing with the Savoyards for her third time. She previously appeared in Yeomen of the Guard and as Isabel in The Pirates of Penzance. Kara currently sings with The Festival Choir of Madison and has performed with Edgefest Follies, CTM, and Middleton Players Theatre.

Julie R. Soddy (Katisha) happily returns this summer in the role of Katisha, having portrayed Julia Jellicoe in last summer's production of The Grand Duke. She recently finished a tour of The Wisconsin Story with The Edge of Discovery Theater. Last December, Julie was seen in MTG's A Very Taffeta Christmas as Peggy Taffeta. Julie enjoys performing in a variety of venues including Cabaret, musical theater, opera, oratorio, and children's theater. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from UW-Madison and a Master of Music (Vocal Performance) Degree from Indiana University. Theater companies for which Julie has worked include Ohio Light Opera, Fireside Dinner Theater, Opera for the Young, La Comdia Dinner Theater, and The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Chicago. She is also a private voice and piano teacher as well as a teacher of acting for children. A note of thanks to all the people who support his wonderful art form we know as the G & S operetta (especially to Julie's husband, Steve, who is playing in the orchestra, not as a second trombone, but in the trumpet section).

Peter C. Voigt (Nanki-Poo) is extremely excited about performing in his first Savoyards production. Peter and his wife, Ariana, who is in the chorus, moved to Madison last summer from central Texas. Mr. Voigt has appeared in many roles in theatre productions including Lt. Cable in South Pacific, Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, Otto Kringelein in Grand Hotel, Padre in Man of La Mancha, and Max in Lend Me a Tenor. Peter has enjoyed singing with the Madison Opera chorus and Madison Symphony Chorus, and is currently studying voice with Ms. Kitt Reuter-Foss.

Tresa Waggoner-Guard (Yum-Yum) just graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Master in Music. She completed her BA at Colorado State University in Theatre. Tresa has come to Madison, because her husband, David, is attending UW in scenic design. Recent roles include Luarrett in Gianni Schince, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Queen Aggravain in Once Upon a Mattress and Josephine in HMS Pinafore. Tresa studied in Austria with the Salzberg Music Festival this past summer. In February, Tresa placed second at the Metropolitan Opera Nation Council in St. Louis Regional Audition. She is very pleased to make her debut with the Savoyards.

Artistic Staff Profiles

Kathleen Conklin (Director/Choreographer) has contributed to the choreography of past productions by The Madison Savoyards, Ltd., including A Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas Carol. She has also produced, directed, performed or choreographed for Strollers Theatre, Kanopy Performing Arts Center, CTM Productions, and Madison Theatre Guild. She is Artistic Associate for First Banana Productions and will be directing one of two plays in a world premiere of works by Amsterdam playwright, Tom Minter, to be presented by that company at Brave Hearts Theatre in the fall. Newly installed by the Bartell Foundation, Conklin is the Managing Director of the live performance spaces in the renovated Esquire theater at 113 E. Mifflin St. Conklin has degrees from the UW - Madison in modern dance and law. She is artistically indebted to Isadora Duncan and long white scarves.

Randall A. Meder (Musical Director/Conductor) received his Master of Music degree from the UW-Madison where he studied conducting with Beverly Taylor. He held the teaching assistantship for the UW Choral Department, for which he conducted the Women's Chorus and Masters Singers, and was assistant conductor of the Concert Choir. In addition to his work with Professor Taylor, Mr. Meder has studied with Robert Fountain, Scott MacPherson, Robert Shaw and Timothy Stalter. He taught choral music at the high school level for four years, and has worked with groups of various ages and abilities from children's choirs to adult church choirs. His previous involvement with the Madison Savoyards has included the recent Wisconsin premieres of The Grand Duke and A Gilbert & Sullivan Christmas Carol (conductor/music director), and the 1991 production of Patience (assistant music director). This fall he will begin his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has been awarded a teaching assistantship in the choral conducting division.

Molly T. Weiss (Assistant Music Director) joins Savoyards for her second production. She graduated in December in Choral Education and took over midyear at Madison Memorial High School after the choir director (Savoyard performer and music director Lisa Reichl-Kjentvet) left on maternity leave. She will continue at Memorial for one more year after which she hopes to find her own permanent position elsewhere.