One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
The Mikado - comic opera (1885)
Mikado of Japan - Richard Alexander (bass); Nanki-Poo - Kanen Breen (tenor); Ko-Ko - Mitchell Butel (baritone); Pooh-Bah - Warwick Fyfe (baritone); Pish Tush – Samuel Dundas (baritone); Yum-Yum - Taryn Fiebig (soprano); Katisha - Jacqueline Dark (contralto)
Opera Australia Chorus and Orchestra Victoria/Brian Castles-Onion
Directed by Stuart Maunder
rec. 24-25 May 2011, The Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Picture: NTSC/16:9
Sound: PCM Stereo, dts 5.1 Surround
Region: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian

Experience Classicsonline

This recording is not to be confused with the Australian Opera Sydney Opera House production (1987) [OAF4001D]. This Australian Opera production was first seen when televised by ABC in 1987. A D’Oyly Opera Company, studio-based film of 1966 was turned to video and then DVD [DVD160037] and is still available. Of the three this Australian Opera version is extremely fresh in its flamboyant production and clearly has much to commend it. The music follows Sullivan’s scoring most of the time yet benefits from a completely new overture which is extremely pleasant. Tim Goodchild’s lavish Japanese staging follows a pantomimic genre in some respects: huge vases/urns are used to hide in, and a large practical teapot dwarfs any Mad Hatter’s tea party. Pooh Bah (with all his roles ‘rolled into one’) is ‘put away’ in a man-sized wardrobe fitted with numerous filing drawers which doubles as his office. A few additions to the dialogue are appropriate, including Shakespeare, and do not interrupt the flow of the plot.
Stuart Maunder’s production is fast-paced and much detailed carefully planned stage business holds the audience’s attention. His characters are convincing and provide eccentric mannerisms ‘appropriate to their station’. Ko-Ko as a ‘Harold Lloyd meets Rik Mayall’ character is an acrobatic delight. At times, the stage business could be more subtle though and jazzy routines seem out of context with this style of music and so lose their humour. Nanki Poo with his cheesy smile delivers a splendid ‘A wandering minstrel I’ and Ko-Ko a witty ‘Little List’ (with some of the jokes distinctly Australian). Yum-Yum is deliciously feminine and takes on Gilbert’s conventional characterization.
Perhaps the school-girls in boaters, clutching tennis rackets with manly ties and shirts is too Westernized, and makes the novelty of Gilbert’s Japanese setting somewhat pointless. Maybe its a sort of St Trinian’s meets the Emperor of Japan. In contrast, the use of bowlers for the men with fans displaying ‘The Times’ work wells. Act II leans more towards music hall routines and Nanki Poo’s over-the-top moves upstage the impending interaction between Ko-Ko and Katisha. All characters sing superbly and the vocal numbers are a joy to listen to. The Mikado might have had more fire than the relaxed delivery of his spoken lines yet his resonant bass voice comes across well.
The contribution by the musical director and the orchestra was first class. A new and fresh version of the overture has been substituted for the traditional one. A passage, ‘But youth of course must have its fling’ used Mackerras’s ‘Pineapple Poll’ scoring with its elephant-trumping trombones evident in the finale. Those who mourn the disappearance of the original overture should understand that it was never written by Sullivan. Throughout the pace is brisk and is much in keeping with the lively stage action. Only the Act I finale seems musically insecure. With such fast playing an inaudible chorus gabble through it, and later a long rallentando for Katisha is too stretched to be effective.
All principals were separately miked and although this should have improved the singers’ sound quality a slight loss of top frequencies was evident. This may not be a problem on the Blu-Ray recording. The chorus was at times a tad drowned by the orchestra, where the sound quality was excellent. On the DVD copy used for this review, a technical on-line ‘freezing’ at the start of Katisha’s ‘The hour of gladness’ was noticeable. A well written booklet with synopsis and critique of former recordings of this opera by Andrew Greene is provided in English, French and German. There are colour photographs. .

Raymond J Walker

see also review of the Bluray release by Michael Greenhalgh























































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.