Giving Cio-Cio San a better ending

Stage | Backstage Pass Aug 3, 2017

Giving Cio-Cio San a better ending

by Chiho Iuchi

Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" tells the story of a young Japanese girl named Cio-Cio San ("chō-chō" is the Japanese word for "butterfly") marrying and getting dumped by an American naval officer named Pinkerton. First performed in Italy in 1904, the opera is one ...

Opera Theater Konnyakuza perfects a union of stage and song

Music Jan 28, 2016

Opera Theater Konnyakuza perfects a union of stage and song

by Chiho Iuchi

The world of opera has always found inspiration in the works of William Shakespeare, but adapting them for the stage requires flexibility. Kyoko Hagi, a composer who serves as the representative of Opera Theater Konnyakuza, points out that Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi transformed "Macbeth" into ...

High-energy Ono conducts a rare 'Hoffmann' critique

Stage Jul 2, 2014

High-energy Ono conducts a rare 'Hoffmann' critique

by Ayako Takahashi

He is known best for the rapturously hysterical "Infernal Gallop" (aka "The Can-can") from his 1858 operetta "Orpheus in the Underworld," but the German-born, naturalized-French composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-80) is credited with just one full-length, serious opera — "The Tales of Hoffmann" — which ...

Ueno Park to welcome springtime with a song

Music Mar 13, 2014

Ueno Park to welcome springtime with a song

by Chiho Iuchi

The cherry trees of Ueno Park are inspirational in full bloom. Come early spring and Tokyoites head to the area early to snag spots beneath the pink blossoms, which inspire romance, revelry and perhaps more than a few visionary ideas. More than a decade ago, ...

First female conductor at NNTT performs 'Madama Butterfly'

Music Feb 4, 2014

First female conductor at NNTT performs 'Madama Butterfly'

by Chiho Iuchi

Japanese audiences, especially women, may have mixed feelings about Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly." However, they may become intrigued when they learn that a new production, which tells the story of a geisha abandoned by her U.S. Navy officer husband, is being staged under the ...

Conductor proud of first opera at Kiyomizu

National Dec 18, 2013

Conductor proud of first opera at Kiyomizu

by Takashi Tahira

Hirofumi Yoshida, 45, said he could feel Italian opera blending with Japanese spirituality when he conducted two new short works at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto in October. "I felt that the history of opera, which I believe is a symbol of Western art, and Japanese ...