Opera Scotland

Mikado 1886Mr R D'Oyly Carte's Opera Company

Read more about the opera Mikado

It was unusual, to say the least, for a provincial city like Dundee to receive an important  Scottish premiere such as this.   These events usually went to one of the central belt cities.

Several of the cast of this first Mikado tour came from the previous season's Princess Ida.  James Danvers was joining the company from outside, having previously worked under Charles Bernard's management.  Allen Morris became a well-known figure with serious opera companies.  The new piece must have given audiences at this time of year a stimulating alternative to the ubiquitous pantomime.  However not all showed the appropriate gratitude, and it was far from clear that The Mikado would soon become the most popular in the series.  Indeed the critic of the Glasgow Herald detected a comparative lack of melody in the piece.  However he did not go as far as the Times critic who, in reviewing the London opening, had compared The Mikado unfavourably with the much earlier Sorcerer.

The theatres in Dundee and Aberdeen were both managed by the Lancastrian William McFarland, who had dominated the theatre scene in Dundee for a couple of decades.  Indeed he also ran the two main music halls in both cities.  Her Majesty's, Dundee, had only opened a few months before, replacing the old Theatre Royal, and this was the first D'Oyly Carte group to visit it.  The Mikado run, unusually, began with a 'Grand Opening Matinee' on the Monday afternoon.

This Mikado company had been touring the length and breadth of England, opening in Portsmouth on 3 August 1885.  The Christmas season was in Liverpool, and after the seven weeks in Scotland they moved on to Newcastle.  D'Oyly Carte had several teams going round the country playing less important theatres, and there were other squads touring across the Atlantic (the New York company having sailed in mid-August).

In those days touring companies did not yet as a rule take their scenery around with them, but relied on the excellence of the local craftsmen to provide something suitable.  However the lavish Japanese-style costumes were copies of those seen in London.

The cast is from a surviving programme in the Lamb Collection, Dundee City Library.  Variants are as reported in the Dundee Courier and Glasgow Herald reviews.  James Danvers, named in the Dundee programme, seems to have been indisposed for some time.

Performance Cast

Nanki-Poo the Mikado's son, disguised as a wandering Minstrel

Charles Rowan

Pish-Tush a Noble Lord

Mr H Poole (Jan 4, 5, 6)

George Gordon 2 (Exc Jan 4, 5, 6)

Pooh-Bah Lord High Everything Else

Furneaux Cook

Ko-Ko Lord High Executioner of Titipu

David Fisher jnr

Yum-Yum Ko-Ko's Ward

Ethel Pierson

Pitti-Sing Yum-Yum's sister, also Ko-Ko's Ward

Effie Mason

Peep-Bo Yum-Yum's sister, also Ko-Ko's Ward

Emily Wallace

Katisha an elderly Lady, in love with Nanki-Poo

Fanny Edwards

Mikado of Japan

James Danvers

Allen Morris (Dnd; Gla)

Performance DatesMikado 1886

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

4 Jan, 14.30 4 Jan, 19.30 5 Jan, 19.30 6 Jan, 19.30 7 Jan, 19.30 8 Jan, 19.30 9 Jan, 19.00 11 Jan, 19.30 12 Jan, 19.30 13 Jan, 19.30 14 Jan, 19.30 15 Jan, 19.30 16 Jan, 14.00 16 Jan, 19.00

Her Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

18 Jan, 19.30 19 Jan, 19.30 20 Jan, 19.30 21 Jan, 19.30 22 Jan, 19.30 23 Jan, 14.00 23 Jan, 19.30

Royalty, Glasgow | Glasgow

25 Jan, 19.30 26 Jan, 19.30 27 Jan, 19.30 28 Jan, 19.30 29 Jan, 19.30 30 Jan, 14.00 30 Jan, 19.30 1 Feb, 19.30 2 Feb, 19.30 3 Feb, 19.30 4 Feb, 19.30 5 Feb, 19.30 6 Feb, 14.00 6 Feb, 19.30

Royal Lyceum Theatre | Edinburgh

8 Feb, 19.30 9 Feb, 19.30 10 Feb, 19.30 11 Feb, 19.30 12 Feb, 00.00 13 Feb, 14.00 13 Feb, 19.30 15 Feb, 19.30 16 Feb, 19.30 17 Feb, 19.30 18 Feb, 19.30 19 Feb, 19.30 20 Feb, 14.00 20 Feb, 19.30

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2023

Site by SiteBuddha