Carl Rosa Opera is currently the only professional company regularly touring productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan Operas in Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia. Their repertoire includes H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Gondoliers as well as The Mikado. New productions of Iolanthe, The Yeomen of the Guard will be mounted later in 2007.
Mike Leigh's Topsy Turvy, a film about the creation and original production of The Mikado, includes scenes from several operas, and the settings and costumes for these were meticulously researched. In particular, The Mikado scenes featured costumes faithfully reproduced from the original 1885 designs by Wilhelm. The film won Academy Awards for make up and costumes.
Carl Rosa Opera’s production of The Mikado, seen for the first time in 1998, was based on the original Savoy production of 1885. Gilbert’s own prompt book was the source for the direction, staging, and choreography.
It also presents a faithful reproduction of the original stage settings, using the costumes and sets seen in Mike Leigh's film. Many drawings, photographs, designs, and other research material have been unearthed for this ongoing project that has taken four years to co-ordinate.
But whilst this production is true to the spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan's original conception of the piece, this Mikado is no Victorian museum piece. It is fresh and lively, driven by a cast that blends experience with exciting young talent.
The production has now been preserved for posterity, having been filmed in 2001, and is now available on DVD from the Carl Rosa Opera Company.