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He’s Got a Little List


The pointy end of the satire in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, or the Town of Titipu has always been directed at the byzantine regulations of government, not the Japanese culture the operetta purports to depict. Self-important officials hemmed in by elaborate rules and regulations who are unable to do anything effectively but collect paychecks are, after all, a problem endemic to most societies. And the intricate self-deceptions bureaucrats practice amongst themselves, amplified greatly by the comic nonsense Gilbert and Sullivan specialized in, are at the heart of The Mikado. Flirting has been made a crime punishable by death in Titipu, and so the town appoints a condemned flirt, Ko-Ko, to the role of executioner. He can’t kill himself, as that would be a capital crime -- and so no executions take place. When the noble Mikado demands an execution within the month, a complicated series of arranged marriages, fake marriages and marriages punishable by death breaks out amongst the nobility, accompanied by some of the most beautifully ridiculous songs ever penned. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opens its season with a modern version of The Mikado at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Eager Road, Webster Groves; 314-961-0644 or Any similarities between Titipu’s rulers and current politicians is strictly unfortunate, for all involved. Tickets are $29 to $106.
Sat., May 19, 8 p.m.; Thu., May 31, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 6, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 8, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 10, 7 p.m.; Tue., June 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 16, 1 p.m.; Wed., June 20, 1 p.m.; Sat., June 23, 8 p.m.