6 December 2015 (Sun), ENO
I had loved this production four years earlier, and it was just as good the second time around – better, in fact, since I could read the subtitles this time, which helped immeasurably (I wonder if this is how Italians feel listening to opera). Great sets, colorful costumes, broad bright comedy, whimsical choreography, nutty elements like the headless waiters – this production really has it all. The entire cast was excellent both musically and comically, with the ever-energetic Richard Suart back as the executioner. There was a brief celebration at the end by a woman who had appeared in this production’s debut some 30 years and 200 performances ago. She brought on the aging director Jonathan Miller, which was cool. I sat next to a young Japanese law student who was curious about the Japanesque show, but this production, updated in style to 1930s England, wasn’t was he was expecting. Interestingly, he had been looking forward to seeing how the cast portrayed the Japanese; I told him about the controversy in the US over a Mikado that used primarily white actors for the supposedly Japanese roles, which made him laugh. I’m not sure how much he caught in terms of the content, but it’s such a visual treat that he seemed happy.