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The Mikado

or The Town of Titipu

Music by Arthur Sullivan: Lyrics and Libretto by W.S. Gilbert

Savoy Theatre, London - 14 March 1885
Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York - 19 August, 1885

The Story

(The Town of Titipu, Japan)

The Mikado has decreed that the act of flirting when 'not conubially linked' is punishable by death. Horrified by this prospect, the townsfolk of Titipu appoint Ko-Ko as the Lord High Executioner - he has been imprisoned for flirting and would be obliged to execute himself before beheading anyone else. Arriving in Titipu, Nanki-Poo is distressed to hear of this new appointment. He has been forced to leave his father's Court to avoid execution due to the unwarranted attentions of Katisha and has come to Titipu to claim Yum-Yum, Ko-Ko's bride to-be, believing that she would now be freed of her engagement to Ko-Ko in the light of his imprisonment. Yum-Yum has no desire to marry Ko-Ko but knows that he will not release her to anybody else, especially not to an itinerant musician. Heartbroken, Nanki-Poo prepares to commit suicide but is prevented from doing so by Ko-Ko, who has received orders from the Mikado to execute someone within the month, and suggests that Nanki-Poo be the required victim. Nanki-Poo agrees on the condition that in the meantime he can marry Yum-Yum, a plan which receives a temporary set-back at the discovery that the wife of a beheaded man must be buried alive. However, when they hear that the Mikado, accompanied by Katisha, is approaching the town, Ko-Ko, anxious to avoid the Mikado's wrath, decides to pretend that Nanki-Poo's execution has already taken place. Unfortunately, the Mikado is furious to learn that it is his son who has supposedly been beheaded and Ko-Ko has no choice but to persuade Nanki-Poo to "come back to life", a plan Nanki-Poo will only agree to if Ko-Ko proposes to the unwed Katisha. Reluctantly he agrees and Katisha, believing Nanki-Poo to be dead, accepts the proposal. With Katisha out of the way, Nanki-Poo appears before the Mikado. He is delighted to see his son alive, and all is forgiven.

Principal Characters

(plus Chorus)

Musical Numbers


  1. CHORUS OF MEN (If you want to know who we are)
  2. SONG AND CHORUS (Nanki-Poo) (A wand'ring minstrel I)
  3. SONG (Pish-Tush and Chorus) (Our great Mikado, virtuous man)
  4. SONG (Pooh-Bah, with Nanki-Poo and Pish) (Young man, despair likewise go to) 4a. RECIT. (Nanki-Poo and Pooh-Bah) (And have I journey'd for a month)
  5. CHORUS WITH SOLO (Ko-Ko) (Behold the Lord High Executioner !)

    5a. SONG (Ko-Ko, with Chorus of Men) (As some day it may happen)

  6. CHORUS OF GIRLS (Comes a train of little ladies)
  7. TRIO (Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, and Pitti-Sing, with Chorus of Girls) (Three little maids from school are we)
  8. QUARTET (Yum-Yum, Peep-Bo, Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah, with Chorus of Girls) (So please you, sir, we much regret)

  9. DUET (Yum- Yum and Nanki-Poo) (Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted)
  10. TRIO (Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah and Pish-Tush) (I am so proud)
  11. FINALE, ACT I (With aspect stern and gloomy stride)

  12. SOLO (Pitti-Sing and Chorus of Girls) (Braid the raven hair)
  13. SONG (Yum-Yum) (The sun, whose rays are all ablaze)
  14. MADRIGAL (Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, Nanki-Poo, and Pish-Tush) (Brightly dawns our wedding day)

  15. TRIO (Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, and Ko-Ko) (Here's a how-de-do! If I marry you)
  16. ENTRANCE OF MIKADO AND KATISHA (Mi-ya-sa-ma, mi-ya-sa-ma)
  17. SONG (Mikado and Chorus) (A more humane Mikado never did in Japan exist)

  18. TRIO AND CHORUS (Pitti-Sing, Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Chorus) (The criminal cried as he dropped him down)
  19. GLEE (Pitti-Sing, Katisha, Ko-Ko, Pooh-Bah, and Mikado) (See how the Fates their gifts allot)

  20. DUET (Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko, with Yum-Yum, Pitti-Sing, and Pooh-Bah) (The flowers that bloom in the spring)
  21. RECIT. AND SONG (Katisha) (Alone, and yet alive)
  22. SONG (Ko-Ko) (On a tree by a river, a little Tom-tit sang, Willow, tit-willow)
  23. DUET (Katisha and Ko-Ko) (There is beauty in the bellow of the blast)

  24. FINALE, ACT II (For he's gone and married Yum-Yum)


(Total number of books=21)

3 Violins 1, 3 Violins II, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos, 1 Double Bass, 1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Clarinet, 1 Horn, 1 Trumpet, 1 Trombone, 1 Timpani, 1 Percussion, 1 Piano (optional - annotated vocal score , 1 Full Score