Music / Classical | North Tokyo

Orchestra Nipponica @ Sumida Triphony Hall

Orchestra Nipponica, which specializes in performing tunes composed by Japanese composers, will present two pieces composed by Michio Mamiya, a leading contemporary Japanese composer, on Jan. 27 to mark his becoming 90 years old, at Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo's Kinshicho district.

The concert will feature a semi-stage version of Mamiyia's 1965 opera "Nihonzaru Sukitoorime" ("Clairvoyant Monkey Painter"), which revolves around a monkey queen, who tries to make her beauty last for ever, and a monkey painter, who tries to express on canvas the reality of a ruler's power and ordinary people' life.

The opera, whose libretto was written by poet Hajime Kijima (1928-2004), will be presented for the first time in 53 years since its presentation requires the use of the pipe organ and Baroque and folk instruments like the lute, the recorder and the bagpipe. The libretto, originally a story for children, has been translated into English and Czech. The coming opera performance contains the prologue, the epilogue and eight scenes in one act.

Furthermore, "Interlude for the Queen of Monkey" — Mamiya's latest piece composed in 2018 at the request of Orchestra Nipponica — will be performed as world premier.

Takashi Otsuki (tenor), Naomi Tasaki (soporano), Kei Harada (baritone), Koji Yamashita (bass-baritone), Tatsuhiko Kitagawa (also bass-baritone) and actor Yasuhiko Nemoto will sing or act on the opera stage. Vocal Consort of Tokyo and Chor June will sing as a chorus.

Ichiro Nodaira, also known as a pianist and composer, will conduct. Tetsu Taoshita will serve as stage director and Kazutoshi Shinomi as assistant conductor.

The program's booklet will include an English translation of the summary of the opera's plot and an explanation for each character.