Carlos Alvarez, Saimir Pirgu & Irene Theorin Headline The New National Theatre, Tokyo’s 2018-19 Season

By Francisco Salazar

The New National Theatre, Tokyo has announced its 2018-19 season featuring 10 operas, including four new productions.

New Productions 

The season opens with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” in a new production by William Kentridge originally showcased at La Monnaie and Aix-en Provence. Roland Boer conducts a cast that includes Sava Vemic, Steve Davislim, Yasui Yoko, and Hayashi Masako

Performance Dates: Oct. 3-14, 2018

The season will feature the world premiere a newly commissioned Japanese Opera Nishimura’s “Asters.” The goal is to introduce Japanese opera from the Japanese opera house to the world and it has been a core objective of The New National Theatre Tokyo since it opened in 1997. The new work will be conducted by Ono Kazushi in a production by Oida Yoshi. The opera is set to star Takada Tomohiro, Onuma Toru, Shimizu Kasumi and Usuki Ai.

Performance Dates: Feb. 17-24, 2019

Aguni Jun directs a double bill featuring Zemlinsky’s “A Florentine Tragedy” and Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi.” Carlos Alvarez stars in the title role of Puccini’s comic gem while legendary baritone sings Zemlinsky’s work. Numajiri Ryusuke conducts the double bill.

Performance Dates: April 7-17, 2019

Puccini’s “Turandot” gets a new production as of the “Summer Festival Opera 2019-20 “Japan Tokyo World.” The showcase which will premiere in July 2019 and will see music director Kazushi conduct Alex Olle’s production with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. “Turandot” will see two casts of superstars. The first will include Irene Theorin, Teodor Illincai, and Riccardo Zanellato while the second cast will showcase Jennifer Wilson in the title role and Simon O’Neill as Calaf.

Performance Dates: July 18-22, 2019


Ginger Costa-Jackson takes on the title role in Bizet’s “Carmen” with Oleg Dolgov as Don José. Timothy Renner and Sunakawa Ryoko round out the cast conducted by Jean-Luc Tingaud.

Performance Dates: Nov. 23-Dec. 4, 2018

Verdi’s final work “Falstaff” makes a return in Jonathan Miller’s production. Carlo Rizzi conducts a cast that includes Roberto De Candia in the title role, Eva Mei as Alice Ford and Mattia Olivieri as Ford.

Performance Dates: Dec. 6-15, 2018

Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” makes an appearance with Wagnerian specialist Torsten Kerl. Asher Fisch conducts a cast that also includes Roman Trekel,  Liene Kinca, and Alexandra Petersamer.

Performance Date: Jan. 27- Feb. 2, 2019

Saimir Pirgu takes the title role of Massanet’s “Werther” in Nicholas Joel’s production. Fujimura Mihoko sings the role of Charlotte while Paul Daniel conducts.

Performance Dates: March 19-26, 2019

Francesco Lanzillotta conducts a revival of Grischa Asagaroff’s production of “Don Giovanni.” Nicola Ulivieri sings the title role with Giovanni Furlanetto as Leoporello.

Performance Dates: May 17-26, 2019

Sato Yasko takes on the title role of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” with Stephen Costello as Pinkerton. Donato Renzetti conducts Kuriyama Tamiya’s production.

Performance Dates: June 1-9, 2019