El Mikado

Spanish Version (1987)
Catalan Version (1994)

El MikadoMiquel Periel
Nanki-PooPep Molina
Ko-KoFerran Rañe
Pooh-BahFerran Frauca
PistashJordi Fusalba
Man-Gho-Ta Fulgenci Mestres
Jaume Mallofré
Fun-Ya-YaoMiquel Periel
Yum-YumRoser Batalla
Teresa Vallicrosa
Pitti-SingTeresa de la Torre
Yo ShinaraRosa Nicolàs
Peep-BoMaria Rosas
KatishaMontse Pi

Musical Direction & Adaptation: Joan Vives
Translation: Xavier Bru de Sala

Album Cover
Charot L-1.313/4

In the mid-1980s, a Spanish company mounted productions of The Mikado in both Spanish and Catalan. An LP of the Spanish version dates from 1987, while a CD of the Catalan version, as well as a video from Spanish television, dates from 1994. Given the extremely close correspondence of the casts, it is not unlikely that the two recordings were in fact made within a short time of one another, but this is mere speculation at this point. Reviews of the two recordings follow below.

Spanish Version

This recording, apparently by the original cast of a Spanish production from the mid-1980s, is a cultural cousin to Papp's Pirates, with the production company's name—Dagoll Dagom—more prominently featured on the album jacket than Gilbert's or Sullivan's.

Having said that, the recording is extremely faithful to the spirit, if not the letter, of the original. The orchestration is souped up in spots, but it is done with remarkable taste and skill. Those who view any alteration to Sullivan as sacrilege will, of course, object, but I found it tactfully understated and almost never offensive. A couple of the recitatives are completely rewritten and actually manage to improve on Sullivan. Joan Vives conducts a standard Sullivan orchestra, supplemented by a piano and a concertino that are seldom heard. Interestingly, the role of Katisha is played by a man, a fact that completely passed me by until Don Smith called it to my attention.

I don't speak any Spanish and so cannot comment on the translation, except to say that it is syllabically correct in most places and doesn't seem to give the singers any trouble. This is a professional recording, featuring the Spanish equivalent of Broadway singers, and they throw themselves into the material with great enthusiasm. Many of the nuances seem to have been adopted from familiar English-language productions, but the characters add many of their own. A photograph inside of the album jacket suggests it was a very opulent production.

Catalan Version — Review by J. Donald Smith

The audio performance is identical to the Spanish version, except in a different language. The Catalan sounds a bit harsher and more than gutteral than the Spanish but is easy to get used to. Everything you have said about the Spanish recording [above] holds true for the Catalan.

The video is another story. With overture, dialog, and no intermission, the recording of a stage performance takes 140 minutes. The production is not traditional G&S: overacting and over-the-top does not begin to describe it. The audience appears somewhat bemused, and only a few of the usual lines get laughs where they are supposed to. I suspect the problem arises from the lack of chorus (the extra characters in the cast list split some of the roles) — so that almost everyone is on stage for what normally would be chorus numbers. Everyone, except for Katisha, Ko-Ko and the Mikado is on stage for the first scene. The ladies leave, then come back as the train of little ladies. For those not familiar with the original, it must have made no sense. The same problem occurs with every chorus scene — principals are on stage when the action indicates they shouldn't be. It is a very colorful, athletic and sexy production but for only very occasional viewing.

The Text

The recordings are musically complete, except for a large chunk of the overture, the "song of the sea" section of "A Wand'ring Minstrel," and—most curious—"The criminal cried." To give a small idea of the translation, the Spanish and Catalan song names and their English equivalents are given below.

Presentarnos es un placerPresentar-nos és un plaerIf you want to know who we are
No soy más que un juglar Sóc un pobre joglarA wand'ring minstrel I
El gran Mikado, muy gentilEl gran Mikado, cast i purOur great Mikado, virtuous man
Yum-Yum jamás; alcanzarásNo hi pensis mésYoung man despair
Y yo he viajado durante un mes enteroI jo he viatjat durant un mesAnd have I journeyed for a month, or nearly
Mirad al gran Ko-Ko de TitipúMireu el gran i just Senyor BotxiBehold the Lord High Executioner
You sali de la prisión;Taken from the county jail
Por si un día hicieran falta unos nombres de acusadosSi un dia se'm demanaAs someday it may happen that a victim must be found
Es un tren de niñas que terminan el colegioSom un tren de noiesComes a train of little laides, from schoolastic trammels free
Soy una chica virginalSom cin noietes virginalsThree little maids
Con humildad pedimos su perdónPerdó si per un mal entésSo please you sir, we much regret
Si no fueses pretendiente de Ko-Ko sinó de miSi no fossis la promesaWere you not to Ko-Ko plighted
Con gran afánTinc tant d'orgullI am so proud
Non da tristeza suponer que a ti te toca perecerVenim perqué amb gran neguitWith aspect stern and gloomy stride
Mira quée peinadoVeus quin pentinatBraid the raven hair
Si luce el solEl sol que llu potent i durThe sun whose rays
Mira el sol, ya amanecióMira torna a sortir el solBrightly dawns our wedding day
Qué calamidadQuin moment més durHere's a how-de-do
Un rey mejor es impossibleUn rei mes boA more humane Mikado
Mira el destino qué señorMira el desti, quin gran senyorSee how the fates
El agua de mayo al caerLes flors que floreixen al maigThe flowers that bloom in the spring
Tan sola y pese a todo vivaTan sola i malgrat tot tan vivaAlone, and yet, alive
En un árbol cantaba un gentil ruiseñorProp d'un riuOn a tree by a river
Hay bondad en una bomba al estallarHi ha bellesa en esclatar d'un bombardeigThere is beauty in the bellow of the blast
Se casó con la joven Yum-YumS'ha casat amb la jove Yum-YumFor he's gone and married Yum-Yum
Issue History
1987 Charot Stereo LP L-1.313/4 Spanish Version
1994 AudioVisuals de Sarria CD [no number] Catalan Version
199-? Spanish Television Video [no number] Catalan Version