Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Mikado

Last Saturday night we were so excited to attend a performance of The Mikado, put on by the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company in Minneapolis. We were especially excited because the title female role of Yum-Yum was being played by John’s twin sister Sarah. Sarah has a beautiful soprano voice and is a great actress, so we were really excited to see the show.

I did have a few mixed feelings going in, though. Why? For one, attending a live music performance meant that I had to leave my two year old and my nine month old with someone else! In Asian life, that was pretty hard to accomplish, and we are still new enough in the States that we have only just had my mom and dad watch them a few times when we were gone and they were awake. It’s like there’s a scale: leaving them napping with someone else there and you run out for an errand=not very hard. Leaving them sleeping but about to wake up is a bit harder, leaving them during a meal even more so, but the ultimate to me is leaving them for the dinner meal and then trusting someone else to put them to bed. Bedtime is the time of day when I think kids need their mamas and daddies the most—to complete the (almost sacred) bedtime routine that no one else can do satisfactorily!

But, if we wanted to see the show, this was going to be our only option. Thankfully, John’s sister Mary was happy to watch the girls, so the trust factor was no problem—we knew she’s be great! But on Saturday, we had brunch altogether in the Twin Cities with more family—John’s brother Andy, his wife Laurel and their son Julian—which meant that we were away from Mary’s home and she would need to make the 1.5 hour drive home with the girls by herself. So this was way off the scale in my book—sending them off with Mary alone, first to ride in the car, then have supper, and then go to bed all without me! In my mind, the possibilities of them misbehaving, crying, or generally being difficult were endless, mostly because they had just so rarely done this before. Needless to say, I was doing a lot of praying!

We had a wonderful dinner at Chipotle with John’s mom, followed by a Starbucks latte (oh, I do love eating in America!), and then made our way to the theatre. Occasionally a worry about the girls would surface, but I was trying to just relax and enjoy the opportunity to be out!

Happily for us all, the show was wonderful! The theatre was quite small, seating about 200, so our seats in the fourth row were truly up close and personal with the singers. The Mikado is probably Gilbert and Sullivan’s best operetta, set in Japan but with their characteristic British humor, poking fun at the society and politics of their day. It was fun to see it brought to life!

There were some really strong performances among the cast, but our (truly unbiased) opinion is that Sarah was the shining star. Her excellent vocal abilities were matched by a magnetic stage presence; she had a lot of energy and a sweet, funny portrayal of Yum-Yum. Her solo in the second act elicited a sigh from the audience before the applause! And she was beauty itself in her gorgeous costumes (originally from the New York City Opera). We were so proud of her!

So what happened with Mary, Clara Anne and Chloe? Well, the girls were pretty good for Mary, except that when it came to bedtime they didn’t want to go to bed. Clara Anne played in her bed and disturbed Chloe, and then Chloe cried until Mary rocked her to sleep. They both were sleeping by 10pm, but Mary had a few challenging moments! I was just thankful that when we finally arrived back at Mary’s house about 1am, everything was all quiet. (Visions of screaming children were still dancing in my head!)

So, all’s well that ends well, in the Mikado, where Yum-Yum ends up with her dear Nanki-Poo, and in the household where the children finally go to sleep!

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