Modern musical theatre in both the UK and the USA has moved away from sweeping epic stories with quasi-operatic scores since the success of shows such as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon throughout the 1980s and whilst they still prove to be popular amongst fans, imitations of the style have largely fallen by the wayside. Around the world however tastes are perhaps different as Marco Polo - an... Read more
In 1271, Marco Polo joins his father Niccolo and uncle Maffeo on their return to Shangtu in faraway Cathay. They are on a mission for the Great Kublai Khan to bring with them a hundred men of learning. The Great Khan rules an empire that stretched from the Danube to the Sea of Japan. Any form of contact with the vast Mongol empire does not only benefit Venice but the whole of Christendom. During this time, there are internecine wars among European potentates that delayed the election of a new Pope and, in the East, political conflicts abound among powerful Mongol warlords.
Amidst this historical setting, Act I of the musical recounts the voyage of Marco Polo from Venice to Central Asia and his encounter with Kogajin, the daughter of the Great Khan. They fall in love. However, Kogajin is a princess in the royal Mongol bloodline. Marco, on the other hand, is a foreigner and the son of an ordinary Venetian merchant.
Act II brings us to Cathay and tells the story of Marco’s quest, amidst strong opposition from the ruling Mongol elite. He is determined to do all that is required of him to deserve Kogajin. In the meantime, pride and ambition throws Marco into a personal struggle between the lure of power and the quest for true love.
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