The Mikado: David McKechnie’s musical influences

David Mckechnie - Ko-Ko WEB

Actor David McKechnie, who is currently touring the UK in Sasha Regan’s ‘The Mikado’, shares his musical influences that have inspired his career.


The greatest

“PETER GRIMES (op. 33) is the greatest opera ever written. I once argued this to the point of fisticuffs, silencing Team Mozart and snookering one of those Wagner junkies in the process. Montagu Slater’s unsettling, lean libretto is a masterpiece on its own. Britten’s score is like nothing I’ve heard before or since. I’d flick a vein and inject it if I could.”


A recommendation

Howells’ REQUIEM was recommended by my friend and collaborator Richard Bates, who’s guided me toward several pieces I now love. Like Elgar, Howells died on my birthday. This tells us little, aside from the fact that I need to make everything about me.


A perfect comic song

Digging for rhymes for Ko-Ko’s list song in THE MIKADO only increased my admiration for Gilbert, Coward, Victoria Wood and Flanders and Swann. HAVE SOME MADEIRA M’DEAR is a perfect comic flourish; the words skip along so elegantly. The climactic set of verses where she drops the glass are an all-time favourite of mine.


Absolutely musical

While not absolutely musical, this next choice is absolutely musical. The rhythms and cadences of Charles Laughton’s perfectly nuanced recitations inspired in me a love of the spoken word, and a joy in its music. Laughton keeps me humble about my own abilities, and I steal from him shamelessly.


Britten obsessed

All my choices could have been Britten. I’m obsessed. The lone voice of PHAEDRA (op. 93) in a maze of percussion and strings. The menacing pulse of the orchestration as it envelopes the singer is both stately and terrific. Phaedra, in all her madness, stands before you.


Sasha Regan’s All Male Mikado comes to The Lowry 25-29 July, tickets available from here.