When the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was at Wolverhampton in May 1972, some school parties from Newport, Salop, went to see a performance of "The Mikado", and the boys were asked afterwards to write to the producer, Mr. Anthony Besch, giving their views. Here, uncorrected, are some extracts from the letters which he received.
This was the first time I had seen a Gilbert and Sullivan opera and I enjoyed it very much. I thought that the actors and actresses in "The Mikado" were very good and I thought the scenery was very good. Also it was very well produced and went very smoothly. The costumes also were very good. It must be a very difficult job making all the costumes and scenery and getting ready to produce an opera like that.
The theatre looked very small from the outside but turned out to be very large inside.
I thought "The Mikado" was very good on the whole last Wednesday. Yum-Yum had a lovely voice and Katisha was very funny.
The solos and the orchestra were good but not very laud. In the second scene the scenery was very attractive but dull.
The chorus's were very good especially the 'Braid the Raven Hair' one.
I am a viola player in the county orchestra and so it was a pity that I couldn't see any string players.
Nanki-Poo did some very good face expressions when acting which made things a lot funnier. Katisha looked and acted very ugly which made me dislike her like the other actions were supposed to.
The scenery was very effective and well placed.
Some of the fans were very nice especially the Mikado's.
I should think it was very hard to remember all the words and know when your que was.
I think the best and the funniest was Mr. Sandford who acted and sang very well.
I would like to congratulate you on the performance of "The Mikado". I enjoyed it very much, and thought it was hilarious at times.
The make-up was very good, and the costume was very colourful. The singing was clear and loud enough, and I should also like to congratulate the orchestra and the conductor for playing their parts well.
The scenery was very attractive and realistic and full of gaiety. So a very good opera.
I think your opera was of very well chosen actors, and actresses. This was the first time I had been to an opera and I was very lucky that it was written by Gilbert and Sullivan whose operas tend to be on the better side.
There is, though, one point I would like to point out. When Yum-Yum and Nanki Poo were dancing in the second half of the opera, quite a bit of the time was taken up not facing the audience which we when in our drama lessons have been told to do. Also the scenery in the first half was almost the same as in the second. In the side the colourful wall was not changed and the cave was there in both halves too. I realise this is not your fault but I am just pointing it out. Apart from this I was very pleased with your cast's performance. Good luck in future operas.
In my opinion the production "The Mikado" was very good, this was the first Opera I had ever seen but shall be looking forward to seeing many more. The actors' and actress' voices were very clear and distinct. I think, perhaps it would be better if the Opera was split into more than two scenes because I think that 1 1/2 hours per scene is too long. Not forgetting the orchestra, I thought they were very good to.
I did not find the singing parts very interesting but I could follow the main story by the words, spoken. It was a good story but I would have preferred a play of it without singing rather than an opera. Still it was an enjoyable performance.
The only criticism I have is that the interval took place only one hour before the end of the performance which was not in the middle of the performance or even near it.
The Producer must also have had a great deal of hard work to do in the performance because of all the things he had to do.
I must also thank you for putting the performance on during Maths as some people including myself would rather do any other lesson.
The scenery was also very good and so was the music which accompanied the show.
I must now end this letter because English is nearly over.
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