Comedy, music meet in TSO’s ‘The Mikado’

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado” was a runaway success when it was written nearly 130 years ago, and its popularity has never waned.
The Tupelo Symphony Orchestra is bringing the classic comic opera to the stage in Tupelo next weekend.
“Within a couple of years, it was the most performed work of musical theater ever written. It was extraordinarily successful,” said Steven Byess, conductor of the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra. “Gilbert was one of the greatest writers of the late 19th century. He was an amazing wordsmith, and he made it possible for Sullivan to create and marry music to these wonderful words. These words are hilarious when you read them on their own, and the music wonderful, and paired perfectly with the words.”
Set in Japan, “The Mikado” is the story of an emperor’s son who runs away when he’s forced to marry a woman he doesn’t love.
“The emperor comes to straighten out the son, and all sorts of hijinks ensue,” Byess said.
This is the second opera TSO has staged; two years ago, they produced “El Capitan.”
Actor and singer Nicholas Wuehrmann was the lead actor in that production, and he returns to star in “The Mikado.”
The opera also stars Fulton opera singer Sarah Childers and University of Mississippi professor Nancy Maria Balach.
The chamber choirs from Northeast Mississippi Community College and Itawamba Community College will join the orchestra for the performance.
“This is a very exciting and accomplished cast,” Byess said. “It’s the confluence of extraordinary talents coming together to create something wonderful. It will be very exciting for everyone involved, and for the audience.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com