Love triangles in Italian greats


From Sept. 23 through Dec. 3, Kiev Opera will perform the Italian operas “Aida” and “Turandot” throughout Japan. With over 130 years of celebrated performances to its name, Kiev Opera is known not only for its interpretation of Russian opera, but also for its dynamic execution of Italian classics.

Verdi’s tragic opera “Aida” premiered in Cairo in 1871. Aida, a captured Ethiopian princess enslaved to the Egyptian princess Amneris, is torn between a love of her homeland and her love for Radames, a heroic Egyptian warrior. A love triangle develops as Amneris reveals that she, too, is in love with Radames. In this opera, Verdi incorporates the emotional complexity and virtuosity of Wagner’s arias.

Puccini’s “Turandot,” his final opera, was written in 1921 and is set in Beijing’s Forbidden City. It portrays a ruthless Chinese princess who executes all suitors who fail to answer her three riddles correctly. As the plot, which also consists of love triangles and passions, unfolds, Puccini weaves various instrumental themes based on traditional Chinese music into the score, in much the same way as he did in “Madame Butterfly.” This demands technical and interpretational versatility from the performers, and an appreciation for musical fusions and the exotic from the audience.

Kiev Opera’s tour starts at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo on Sept. 23, then travels to numerous parts of the country, including Osaka, Hokkaido and Fukuoka, returning intermittently to the capital throughout. The final performance will be held at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan on Dec. 3. Ticket prices vary at each venue. For a full list of performances, visit eplus.jp/sys/web/kiev/index.html