For He Is An Englishman

Today is the birthday of humorous librettist, dramatist, and director W.S. (William Schwenck) Gilbert (1836-1911), a man who knew how to make a line scan perfectly. It makes singing his verses so very satisfying.

In his honor, I post these sketches from a fabulous performance of The Mikado, probably Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known and most often performed comic opera. This one took place at the Pittsburgh Public Theater a few seasons back.

The “Japanese” names, like the nonsensical G&S plots and their occasionally offensive point of view, must be taken, like most forms of entertainment, in historical context—this one, that of a supremely confident 19th-century colonial power. It’s still fun.

Mikado

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