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VALENTINE CONCERTS

Soprano gets in romantic mood

by Mariko Kato

This Valentine’s Day in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture, celebrated Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova will serenade an intimate audience with suitably romantic melodies from the opera world. Famed for her rich voice and intense characterization, Kasarova draws in audiences in their thousands in Europe’s opera houses.

For this occasion, she performs accompanied only by a pianist, in a cozy venue, making this a rare opportunity to savor Kasarova’s expressive voice. She takes great care in choosing her opera parts, limiting herself to a maximum of 50 performances per year.

Kasarova made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1991, where she sang in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. Performing the operas of Salzburg’s most famous son is her specialty, and at this recital, she will be singing from “La Clemenza di Tito,” as well as from a wide repertoire ranging from Gluck and Handel to Bizet and Rossini.

Also on Feb. 14, MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall will present a more familiar program, with two sopranos and two tenors set to perform romantic solos and duets from hit musicals. The program includes “All I Ask of You” from “Phantom of the Opera” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from “My Fair Lady.” Titled “Winter Box: A musical gift of love songs,” the concert looks set to be an impassioned evening to quicken the heartbeats of concertgoers.

Both concerts will take place on Feb. 14. The Kasarova recital will be held at Art Tower Mito Concert Hall (7 p.m. start). Mito City is one hour from Ueno Station on the Joban Line. Tickets are 10,000 yen (tel. [029] 231-8000). Vesselina Kasarova will also perform at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, on Feb. 8 and 11 (tel. [03] 3584-9999), and at the Symphony Hall, Osaka, on Feb. 17 (tel. [06] 6453-6000).

“Winter Box: A musical gift of love songs” takes place at MUZA Kawasaki Symphony Hall (7 p.m. start). Tickets are 2,500 yen (tel. [044] 520-0200).