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Hawaii Opera Theatre presents modern take on ‘The Mikado’

By Staff | Jun 5, 2014

This modern version of “The Mikado” features the cast dressed in the style of Harajuku Girls, Yakuza, and Anime characters.

KAHULUI – Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) will bring opera back to Maui for the first time in seven years with a performance of “The Mikado” at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theatre on June 18.

HOT presents a modern take on the operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan. Performed in English, this family friendly classic takes the audience through a series of hilarious events, as Nanki-Poo, the son of The Mikado, tries to escape an arranged marriage and finds new love along the way.

Although set in Japan, this enchanting work brings together worlds in only the way the opera can, as the story makes fun of English society and mores of the time.

Directed by HOT Artistic Director Henry Akina with costumes designed by local Fashion Designer Anne Namba, the Artistic Team is presenting characters dressed in the style of Harajuku Girls, Yakuza, and Anime characters. Conductor Tim Shaindlin returns to Hawaii to lead the orchestra.

Bass-Varitone Jamie Offenbach, a native of Honolulu, leads a phenomenal cast and stars in the title role.

Offenbach has enjoyed a stellar career and has performed at venues around the world, including his appearing in Florentine’s Opera’s production of “Elmer Gantry” that earned two Grammy Awards in 2012.

Tenor Joshua Kohl portrays Nanki-Poo, a role he performed with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and was described as having “an excellent lyric tenor voice” by The KC Independent.

Baritone Curt Olds, who The Rochester Times describes as “born to interpret Gilbert’s witty libretto,” plays The Lord High Executioner, Koko.

The object of both Nanki-Poo and Koko’s affection is Yum-Yum, who will be performed by a rising star, Soprano Sarah Asmar.

Metropolitan Opera star Mezzo-Soprano Victoria Livengood (Katisha), University of Hawaii Professor Bass-Baritone John Mount (Pooh-Bah) and Baritone Leon Williams (Pish-Tush) round out the soloists.

Tickets to the performance can be purchased by calling 242-7469 or visiting www.MauiArts.org.