This year marks the bicentennials of the births of two great composers: Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Richard Wagner (1813-83), both giants of the classical music world who brought opera to the peak of its artistic expression in the 19th century.

There will be a number of celebrations and events to commemorate the bicentennials in Japan, bundled under the heading of "2013 Verdi & Wagner 200th Anniversary." They include performances of Verdi's "Aida," which started March 11 at the New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT), and will continue throughout this month. It is a visually stunning work that recreates the world of Ancient Egypt. "Aida" was also one of the first operas to be performed at the NNTT when it opened and thus also serves as a way to commemorate the theater's 15th anniversary.

A screening of Wagner's "Parsifal" will begin April 6 as part of the popular MET Live Viewing series at 16 cinemas across Japan.