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Gilbert, who had already started work on a new libretto in which people fall in love against their wills after taking a magic lozenge, was surprised to hear of Sullivan's hesitation.He wrote to Sullivan asking him to reconsider, but the composer replied on 2 April 1884 that he had "come to the end of my tether" with the operas: ...Sullivan's close friend, the conductor Frederic Clay, had suffered a serious stroke in December 1883 that effectively ended his career.Reflecting on this, on his own precarious health, and on his desire to devote himself to more serious music, Sullivan replied to Carte that "it is impossible for me to do another piece of the character of those already written by Gilbert and myself".Nanki-Poo arrives and informs Ko-Ko of his love for Yum-Yum.Ko-Ko sends him away, but Nanki-Poo manages to meet with his beloved and reveals his secret to Yum-Yum: he is the son and heir of the Mikado, but travels in disguise to avoid the amorous advances of Katisha, an elderly lady of his father's court.The Mikado remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera, and it is especially popular with amateur and school productions.

On 12 February 1885, one month before The Mikado opened, the Illustrated London News wrote about the opening of the Japanese village noting, among other things, that "the graceful, fantastic dancing featured... " The title character appears only in Act II of the opera.One of the gentlemen, Pish-Tush, explains that when the Mikado decreed that flirting was a capital crime, the Titipu authorities frustrated the decree by appointing Ko-Ko, a prisoner condemned to death for flirting, to the post of Lord High Executioner ("Our great Mikado, virtuous man").As Ko-Ko was the next prisoner scheduled to be decapitated, the town authorities reasoned that he could "not cut off another's head until he cut his own off", and since Ko-Ko was not likely to try to execute himself, no executions could take place.The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations.It opened on 14 March 1885, in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances, which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time.They lament that the law forbids them to flirt ("Were you not to Ko-Ko plighted").

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