Opera is total theater that incorporates all of the arts, says the publicist. It’s a pageant, says the wig-maker. We live in a visual culture and opera appeals to the visual; it is pure, unadulterated spectacle, says the stage director.

Warming up his hands before the curtain rises, the assistant maestro who conducts from the prompt box declares you would be hard-pressed to put together a better cast. This is pretty much it in the opera world. Placido Domingo has brought the Washington Opera company on its first visit to Japan to present three productions: Guiseppe Verdi’s “Otello” (with Domingo singing the title role); Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” (Maria Giurghina as Tosca); and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s “Sly” (Jose Carreras as Sly).

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