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BYU to present "The Mikado" as summer opera June 2-5

The Brigham Young University School of Music presents the classic Gilbert & Sullivan opera "The Mikado" Wednesday, June 2, through Saturday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall on the BYU campus.

Tickets are $10 for stage seats and $8 for balcony seats with $2 off for students with a valid student ID. Contact the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 378-4322.

Directed by Lawrence Vincent, professor of opera at BYU, "The Mikado" tells the comical story of Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, or emperor, of Japan, who runs away from his father's court to find his true love Yum-Yum. Along the way, he becomes involved in a complex plan to thwart the quirky decrees of the Mikado.

"It's a silly piece, and very funny," Vincent said. "It usually calls for overacting and very melodramatic kinds of things. The students have fun doing it."

The operetta in the same style W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, famous British satirists, used to write "The Pirates of Penzance," "H.M.S. Pinafore" and "Iolanthe."

"It follows a specific formula of confused identity and love triangles and things they can draw humor from," Vincent said.

Gilbert and Sullivan came up with the idea for "The Mikado" after Sullivan saw a Japanese exhibition in London in 1885 and became fascinated with the colorful costumes and exotic customs of Japan.

The story is not an authentic account of a Japanese story, cultural characters or music.

In keeping with tradition to change operettas to suit the time and audience for which they are performed, Vincent has updated the dialogue and text to appeal to a BYU audience.

"I just hope they have a good time," he said. "We're not trying to leave them with any deep message. We just hope they come and enjoy themselves."

Cast members include Camella Canete, Francesca Forsyth, Simone Hardisty, Heather Johnson, Kristoffer Lowry, Marc Reynolds, Nicholas Stetich, Kimberlee Talbot, Jason Vest, Hyrum Weibell, Jonathan Yarrington, Ellinor Bergqvist, Michael Ferguson, Carrie Frost, Amy George, Curtis Goodman, Stefan Gordon, Jennie Litster and Jessica Litster.

The production team includes production stage manager Emily Provance, scenic designer Heidi Hicken, costume designer Kristen Marie Shirts, makeup and hair designer Carma Chemezova, lighting designer Jenna Wagner and assistant makeup and hair designer Emily Canady.

For more information, call Lawrence Vincent at (801) 422-3165.

Writer: Thomas Grover

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