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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: ...
A handsome but poor minstrel, Nanki-Poo, arrives and introduces himself ("A wand'ring minstrel I").
He also recounted that a young Japanese lady, a tea-server from the Japanese village, came to rehearsals to coach the three little maids in some native Japanese dances.
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.
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".
Gilbert related that he and Sullivan had decided to cut the Mikado's only solo song, but that members of the company and others who had witnessed the dress rehearsal "came to us in a body and begged us to restore [it]".