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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2012
A total classic, this is Gilbert and Sullivan performed at its very best! Opera Australia has captured the very essence of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera in this version of `The Mikado'. The opera opens at a cracking pace under the baton of conductor Brian Castles-Onion, and the joy and fun of Sullivan's music has you smiling before anyone has so much as set a foot on the stage. Then the entertainment really begins with Gilbert's libretto.

In the best tradition of this opera there are the mandatory contemporary asides and props built-in, including an iPad used by Ko-Ko for his `list' - which contains many very relevant people who `will not be missed!'. The stage sets are beautiful, simple and fanciful, and are used to great effect by the artists on stage; the costumes are gorgeous and again, fun. The cast clearly enjoy performing this opera, and praise must surely go to Orchestra Victoria which does an amazing job performing this fast paced and elaborate score.

Yes, as mentioned in other reviews, initially there are a few problems with the camera work and movement blur but this seems to disappear after the first 10 minutes and after that all seems to be okay. On my TV speakers the stereo audio was perfectly fine, and much better than many other movies I have on DVD.

This, in my opinion, is a rare treat, a hilarious and unstuffy production - which is what Gilbert and Sullivan surely had in mind when they set the opera in Japan and satirised the British institutions of the time. Should my DVD ever stop working I would buy another copy. Immediately!
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on 14 May 2012
My kids like the Mikado and are huge Opera Australia fans so we sat down to watch this DVD with high expectations.

I cannot fault the performance in any way. Singing, acting, comedy and musicians, it's all wonderful. Nice to see old O.A. favourites like heroine Taryn Fiebig again, while Mitchell Butel (who we hadn't heard of before) was a wonderfully comic new addition as Koko. Likewise we enjoyed the witty costumes (clever meshing of countries & decades), some incredible make-up, brilliant sets and careful choreography. It was all gloriously riotously OTT, exactly as comic opera should be. Opera Australia does it again!

I disagree with the reviewer who warned of it being too Australian. The only Aussie section was Butel's hysterically funny "little list" song (which this homesick Queenslander thoroughly enjoyed!). It's always updated by tradition - in the 1970s I remember chewing gum & mini skirt jokes; here it includes the Financial Crisis, "Twitterists" & Britney Spears. [although Parental Warning - make sure the kids don't repeat those lyrics at school...]

Where I do have to find fault, though, is with the quality of the visual and audio recording. As a mere amateur, I don't know how it went so wrong, but there were two glaringly problematic areas. To start with, the orchestra shots were poor, filmed through some sort of netting and inserted seemingly as an afterthought or random visual filler. Secondly, the microphones must have been in the wrong place and/or too few in number. We fiddled with the sound settings and eventually got something slightly less glaring, but the cello was often too loud while in the choruses the words tended to be drowned out and blurred by the orchestra.(In contrast, Opera Australia's production of Pirates of Penzance, which we bought first, is far superior, using backstage and orchestral shots taken from different angles to help tell a story and set the atmosphere: you really feel as though you've been to the Opera House. And Pirate's sound is faultless).

So, I'm giving this video 4 stars because my kids love it so much and play it so often, and as I indicated, the original live performance would have been worth 5. However, someone in the sound & camera division deserves a roasting.

Nb - This DVD, which is very recent (early 2012), features Mitchell Butel as Koko and Kanen Breen as Nanki-poo. An earlier reviewer on this page referred to Anthony Warlow as playing Koko. That is not accurate in this DVD, though it was true of the YouTube clips of Mikado by Opera Australia, which we used to watch before this DVD was released. I actually prefer Butel here, though Warlow was brilliant in Pirates.
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on 10 September 2012
Having first read other reviews on your webpage, I wasn't sure how good it would be but felt that it was the best available. In the event I enjoyed this DVD. I felt that it was well sung and acted and that the costumes were not a problem as one reviewer felt. Also, the work is complete which was important to me in order for me to prepare for a forthcoming amateur performance.
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on 8 March 2012
At first glance this would appear to be a very colourful and attractive production, but it is in fact too gaudy. The makeup is all larger than life, quite tasteless - and some of the costumes very "busy" causing picture problems.

This opera gets off to a bad start with a totally re-written (and rather poor) overture. The conducting throughout is erratic in tempo and the chorus - as others have stated - is weak. Kanen Breen as Nanki-Poo has an adequate voice, but overacts, grinning manically throughout. Mitchell Butel as Ko-Ko is simply excruciating to watch - though much of this must rest with the producer who encourages him to indulge in all sorts of silliness. Again, his singing is adequate but no more. Forget the hype.

Taryn Fiebig as Yum-Yum is lovely in the part even though not all reviewers seem to agree. Best of all is Richard Alexander as the Mikado, singing very well and acting suitably. Jacqueline Dark as Katisha is certainly suitably fearsome and sings well.

I find the updating of the text unnecessary, irritating and (as in Ko-Ko's "List" song) downright crude and NOT funny.

I'm reviewing the Blu-ray version and (at least on my TV) the picture quality during any fast movement leaves something to be desired, causing some very odd blurring and fast flickering effects on the striped costumes and also sometimes on the scenery. Sample round about 10m 40s to see what I mean. I tried different resolutions on my player, but it made no difference.

Finally, there's the sound. I started off on DTS and immediately noticed the poor balance. Some of the brass seemed to be behind me so I can't imagine where the microphones were placed. As soon as the chorus starts singing, it's very obvious that the orchestra is too loud. After spending some time fiddling with the surround balance, I gave up and switched to the stereo track which was better.

Avoid this unless you know this production and particularly want it.
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on 2 July 2013
Everyone should indulge in Gilbert and Sullivan for the "feel good" factor. The Mikado is the best. A great production.
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on 10 November 2015
Most of what needs to be said about this production has already been said by other reviewers. It is certainly eccentric and some of the eccentricities make for an unmusical presentation. Many of the tempi are too fast, which robs some of the numbers of their charm and cause the singers to gabble; so words get lost. As has been mentioned by others, the chorus is pretty poor and the miserably rewritten overture mercifully taken very fast indeed. Where tunes included in this rewrite occur in what follows, these are similarly fast.
However, there is colour, imagination and genuine comedy. Whether these qualities compensate for the loss of articulation of Gilbert's libretto and the some of the joys of Sullivan's wonderful music will be up to the individual. I enjoyed watching it, but I would not wish to return to it over and over again. If you want one dvd of "The Mikado" then I would suggest this should not be it. What Bridget D'Oyly Carte would have made of it, I dread to think.
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on 29 February 2012
Oh I loved it... A wholesome evening of pure entertainment...

Ever tied up a puppy for a while and released it? Thats what happened to the Aussies in recreating this operetta. Yes, re-creating really. I have never seen such flippancy on stage for a G&S. The Aussies have gone home with whatever satire it could muster and add on to, and done it in style. To begin with, they have erased the Brit Stiff Upper Lip approach to the work that is almost a norm in the British productions that I have watched on the DVD over the years... The English productions of these always had that approach (arguably to) make sure that the work does not lose the respect of the audience (sic!). That made certain parts of even Mikado a little tiresome. None of that here....

The male voices are clearly no match for the British productions in any way. Perhaps we may tend to feel that after being exposed to the D'Oyly stuff for decades now...
Ko-ko (Anthony Warlow) steals the show, although I cant go to the extent of calling his voice and rendering one of the 'greats' by a mile. Nanki-Poo (Kanen Breen) is not too far behind, and the clarity of the blu ray captures his braces clearly enough. He has a crisper voice than Warlow, and acts a bit like his venerable look-alike, Dick Van Dyke (if you haven't noticed)and is a bit of an over-actor... Pooh-Bah (Warwick Fyfe) fits in beautifully too in his role, and is the best of the three voice-wise. Parts of Pish-Tush and Mikado are performed quite creditably, although not as flamboyant as the others on stage, but rather good voices, I must add...for the roles.

The ladies - Katisha (Adele Johnston)is surely the pick of the lot. She seems to have walked straight out of an Alice in Wonderland or a Sleeping Beauty ballet - Garish as garish can be, but very effective comedic-ally. Taryn Fiebig as Yum-Yum is pretty indeed, but strangely, her singing and diction leave much to be desired. The other two sisters, Jacqueline Dark is excellent in voice and acting as Pitti-Sing and Annabelle Chaffey has done justice to her role of Peep-Bo

The chorus line is a little thin, and in some places, cohesion and precision do lack. But that is more like nit-picking.

Lastly, the orchestra and the conductor Brian Castles-Onion have rendered a very crisp and sprightly performance, although again, slightly wayward at times.

Full marks to the choreography that is BRILLIANT, sets, stage craft, costumes (effectively garish and as caricaturized as they can get) - video is very good and so is the editing and sound. They have spared NO expenses, which is really delightful for us blu ray watchers.
One more thing, the booklet that came with the disc is par excellence for once....

Yes, I would recommend this blu ray to just about any G&S fan - delightfully different is what I should surmise....
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on 5 July 2014
superb production and performance
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on 5 November 2013
great acting and costumes with fantastic music
totally amazing production, will be watching again and again, totally recommend this to everyone
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on 9 March 2012
Picture quality is high but audio, despite its dts HD MA encoding, is not hi-fi. The audio is mixed for TV with high levels of compression and limited bass and treble response. The stereo soundtrack dynamics are no different. So disappointed that I couldn't be bothered watching it and put on Deutche Gramaphon's Blu-ray of Le Nozze Di Figaro instead. Now that's how Blu-ray audio should be.
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