Spanish Version (1987)
Catalan Version (1994)
Musical Direction & Adaptation: Joan Vives
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.
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 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 placer||Presentar-nos és un plaer||If you want to know who we are|
|No soy más que un juglar||Sóc un pobre joglar||A wand'ring minstrel I|
|El gran Mikado, muy gentil||El gran Mikado, cast i pur||Our great Mikado, virtuous man|
|Yum-Yum jamás; alcanzarás||No hi pensis més||Young man despair|
|Y yo he viajado durante un mes entero||I jo he viatjat durant un mes||And have I journeyed for a month, or nearly|
|Mirad al gran Ko-Ko de Titipú||Mireu el gran i just Senyor Botxi||Behold the Lord High Executioner|
|You sali de la prisión;||Taken from the county jail|
|Por si un día hicieran falta unos nombres de acusados||Si un dia se'm demana||As someday it may happen that a victim must be found|
|Es un tren de niñas que terminan el colegio||Som un tren de noies||Comes a train of little laides, from schoolastic trammels free|
|Soy una chica virginal||Som cin noietes virginals||Three little maids|
|Con humildad pedimos su perdón||Perdó si per un mal entés||So please you sir, we much regret|
|Si no fueses pretendiente de Ko-Ko sinó de mi||Si no fossis la promesa||Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted|
|Con gran afán||Tinc tant d'orgull||I am so proud|
|Non da tristeza suponer que a ti te toca perecer||Venim perqué amb gran neguit||With aspect stern and gloomy stride|
|Mira quée peinado||Veus quin pentinat||Braid the raven hair|
|Si luce el sol||El sol que llu potent i dur||The sun whose rays|
|Mira el sol, ya amaneció||Mira torna a sortir el sol||Brightly dawns our wedding day|
|Qué calamidad||Quin moment més dur||Here's a how-de-do|
|Un rey mejor es impossible||Un rei mes bo||A more humane Mikado|
|Mira el destino qué señor||Mira el desti, quin gran senyor||See how the fates|
|El agua de mayo al caer||Les flors que floreixen al maig||The flowers that bloom in the spring|
|Tan sola y pese a todo viva||Tan sola i malgrat tot tan viva||Alone, and yet, alive|
|En un árbol cantaba un gentil ruiseñor||Prop d'un riu||On a tree by a river|
|Hay bondad en una bomba al estallar||Hi ha bellesa en esclatar d'un bombardeig||There is beauty in the bellow of the blast|
|Se casó con la joven Yum-Yum||S'ha casat amb la jove Yum-Yum||For he's gone and married Yum-Yum|
|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|