What is the Mikado opera about? Information and short story of The Mikado opera.
The Mikado is probably the most popular of the Savoy operas. The scene is the imaginary Japanese town of Titipu and the hero is Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, or ruler, of Japan. Nanki-Poo has run away from court rather than marry an elderly, ugly lady called Katisha, and has fallen in love with Yum-Yum, the most charming of “three little maids from school“. He returns to Titipu disguised as a musician and finds that Yum-Yum is about to be married to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner.
The Mikado, having noticed that no executions have taken place in Titipu for a year, has ordered Ko-Ko to have someone beheaded within a month, and so it is decided that Nanki-Poo shall be that person, if he is first allowed to marry Yum-Yum.
Ko-Ko and his friend Pooh-Bah, a proud old man who holds the offices of Lord High Chamberlain, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Archbishop of Titipu, Lord Chief Justice and a great number of others as well, discover a law which says that the widow of a beheaded man must be buried alive. Yum-Yum does not like the idea of this, and Ko-Ko is too timid to cut off anyone’s head, so he telis the Mikado that the execution I has already taken place.
When it is discovered that Nanki-Poo is the Mikado’s son, however, things look black for Ko-Ko and Pooh-Bah. The only way they can be saved, they decide, is by Ko-Ko’s marrying Katisha so that Nanki-Poo can “come back to life” in safety. Ko-Ko therefore woos her with the song “Titwillow“.
On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
Sang Willow, titwillow, titwillow!
And I said to him, “Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing Willow, titwillow, titwillow?”
Ko-Ko is pardoned and marries Katisha, and all ends happily for Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum,
Almost everyone in The Mikado has an at-tractive song. Nanki-Poo sings of himself as “A wandering minstrel I—A thing of rags and patches”—while the Mikado describes a plan of his for making “the punishment fit the erime”. Katisha and Ko-Ko tell in song how they “like to see a tiger From the Congo or the Niger, And especially when lashing of his tail”. The final song that everyone sings in chorus says:
You’ll find there are many
Who’ll wed for a penny,
There are lots of good fish in the sea.