A love of Lytham and of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operetta has been instrumental in international singing star Lesley Garrett lending her support to the production of The Mikado by Illyria which comes to Lytham Hall in August.
Lesley Garrett began her career and made her name in Sir Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of The Mikado in 1984 for English National Opera where she played the role of Yum Yum (centre) in a cast which included Monty Python’s Eric Idle as Koko.
Thirty years on Lesley appeared at the very first Lytham Proms Festival in 2010 before topping the bill five years later.
Her affinity with Lytham and The Mikado is clear from the special message written for the programme of the Lytham Hall performance on Sunday 20 August.
“I was delighted to be at the Lytham Festival in 2014 with Michael Ball and the Hallé Orchestra, so I know the enthusiasm of Lancashire people for open air entertainment.
I am sure that this summer the cast of Illyria will be welcoming the chance to be at Lytham Hall as part of their nationwide tour of The Mikado”, she writes.
Julian Wilde, organiser of the open air season, attributes the pleasing advance bookings from all over Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside to the support of Lesley Garrett and to the quality of the music in The Mikado.
“130 years ago Gilbert and Sullivan were the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice of the day, producing a succession of eagerly anticipated hit shows. The Mikado was their most popular comic opera, running for two years at the Savoy Theatre. Within a year 150 theatre companies had put on a production of The Mikado and the music has certainly stood the test of time.
You cannot fail to be impressed to Lesley Garrett singing the poignant “The Sun whose Rays” from The Mikado on YouTube. There’s a superb variety of music in the Mikado, as well as some of Gilbert’s most witty and waspish lyrics.
Illyria’s colourful and inventive way of presenting Gilbert and Sullivan is a real eye- opener and I am delighted to see they have their very best cast coming to Lytham for the show. We are in for a treat. ”
Adult £13 Senior/student £10 Schoolchild £6.50