The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Mikado, The

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MIKADO, The, or THE TOWN OF TITIPU, a comic opera in two acts, libretto by W. S. Gilbert, music by Sir Arthur Sullivan; first production, Savoy Theatre, London, 14 March 1885; first appeared in America at the Museum, Chicago, 6 July 1885. The plot is simple burlesque without the infusion of any Eastern imagery. The Mikado, a highly moral ruler, has issued an edict condemning to death every man found guilty of flirtation “unless connubially linked.” To evade this stern sentence the citizens of Titipu hit upon the idea of appointing one thus condemned (Ko-Ko, the tailor) to the office of executioner, with the result that he could not behead the next man until he had first executed himself. It being necessary eventually to execute some one, Ko-Ko, who is engaged to Yum-Yum and is also first on the list of the condemned, finds a substitute in Nanki-Poo (the Mikado's son in disguise), who had gone into temporary obscurity to avoid marrying the elderly Katisha. Nanki-Poo agrees to suffer execution a month hence provided he can be married to Yum-Yum for that period. Legal complications follow, and in the end Nanki-Poo is forgiven and weds Yum-Yum, and Ko-Ko saves himself by marrying Katisha. An amusing character is Pooh-Bah, “Lord High Everything Else.”