Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lyric Opera "Mikado" review by MelodyPaige

The Uncultured Review of The Mikado Rating: 4

The Mikado
Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Sitting in the Opera House, a thousand thoughts ran through my mind. The most prominent of those thoughts was, "what am I doing here?" I am anything but sophisticated. I am not one of the rich or upper class in any way shape or form. Not more than a week ago I was quite literally one of the unwashed masses! How in the world did I go from that to attending an The Mikado, an opera, on opening night?

The lights went down and in that moment my perspective changed rapidly. When the house lights go down, there is no difference between one person and another. No social classes to adhere to. We are all people out enjoying a show. The musicians down in the pit began to play under the guidance of a very talented conductor who did a very wonderful job, I might add. Then the curtain rose ushering in a display of artistic beauty. The sets were very well designed. The Euro-Japanese styling blended delightfully so even the art gave a touch of comedy.

Finally, much of the chorus came out and I must say, I was impressed with the costumes. The kimonos looked lovely and the colors definitely were appealing to the eye. The fans though, I honestly was half expecting one of them to rip in two with the sheer amount of stress that was put on them. It does show that quality materials were used as that never became a problem. The vocals were stupendous. As far as opera goes, my personal experience was limited to The Phantom of the Opera movie and the cartoons where the large sized female would be wearing a horned helmet and pitchfork singing falsetto so this was a pleasant surprise, and I found myself laughing and enjoying the show. It appeared that the actors and vocalists were having fun and that is very contagious.

As the story began to unfold I sat on the edge of my seat, taking in the tale of Nanke-poo's love for the fair Yum-Yum and the Poobah whose ambition completely overshadowed his common sense. With the arrival of Ko-Ko into the mix and the song, "The List," I was completely won over. Yum-Yum's Aria had me believing that she was in fact quite vain, comparing herself to the sun and the moon. The Mikado was well played. I enjoyed his song greatly. Kitasha was an interesting character, seeming to be quite misunderstood but she was a solid antagonist.

On the downside, there were a few things that were not so great. Namely, the portrayal of emotions from the actors was not exactly strong. If a father's son is executed, you'd expect the father to be saddened. I, for one, found it hard to believe that Kitasha was evil. She seemed rather gentle but with a crushed ego. Simply put, in some cases I found it hard to let myself dissolve into the, at times, silly world of The Mikado.

All in all, The Mikado is a beautiful comedic opera that definitely is amazing to see. It is fun, exciting and I know I for one left with a smile on my face. It is an ideal show for those who have never been to the opera before, being almost entirely in English, plus there are plenty of pop culture references. Also if you have never been to the opera, take a chance! There is a reason it has stood the test of time. As was said in times now past - try it, you might like it!

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