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Karuizawa to host summer arts festival

by Chiho Iuchi

Located at the foot of Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture, Karuizawa — which is one of Japan’s most popular inland resorts — will be the setting from Aug. 16 to 22 of the Karuizawa Arts Festival 2008.

Inaugurated last summer, the festival brings together around 80 classical musicians from Japan and beyond.

The main concert venue will be at Oga Hall, founded in 2005 by Norio Oga, honorary chairman of Sony. At smaller venues in hotels, villas, museums and churches — as well as on outside stages in the town’s gardens and parks — young artists will present audiences with the fruit of the festival’s fellowship program.

Among the highlights will be selected arias from the tragic opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), sung on Aug. 18 by soprano Mieko Sato (the first Japanese winner of the vocal division at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998) and tenor Tetsutaro Shimizu accompanied by pianist Tadayuki Kawahara. Also recommended is “Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)” by French composer Olivier Messian (1908-92) and marking the centennial of his birth. This will be performed on Aug. 17 by veteran violist Yuzuko Horigome, pianist and composer Ichiro Nodaira, American clarinetist Charles Neidic and Sumire Kudo, a young Japanese cellist who is a member of the New York Philharmonic.

Oga Hall is a seven-minute walk from Karuizawa Station, which is served by the Nagano Shinkansen Line and the Shinano Railway.

Tickets, priced per concert between ¥1,200 and ¥3,200, are available at Pia, E+, La and FM Karuizawa Oga Hall Ticket Center (0267) 41-1317. For more details, call (0120) 686-853 or visit www.karuizawa8.com