Yoshida selected as first Japanese music director of Italian opera house

ROME (Kyodo) Conductor Hirofumi Yoshida will assume the post of music director in January at an opera house in Mantua, Italy, becoming the first Japanese to take such a post in the country where the art was born.

Yoshida, 40, has been working mainly in Italy since 2005 and now lives in Rome. He will become the music director at Teatro Sociale di Mantova, the theater’s general manager, Carlo Pesta, said.

The two will formally make the announcement Friday.

Yoshida will serve as director and also conduct. Pesta said he plans to ask Yoshida to make his debut next year.

“I am honored to be given a responsible role at a prestigious theater,” Yoshida said.

Events, including as a Japanese festival, will be held in connection with his taking over as the music director to strengthen the cultural ties between Italy and Japan.

A graduate of Tokyo College of Music, Yoshida was chosen as a trainee to study abroad by the Cultural Affairs Agency and moved to Europe in 1999. He was the first Japanese to conduct an opera at Terme di Caracalla, the site of an ancient bath complex in Rome. The performance was hosted by Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.