City Opera Vancouver to Present Luka Kawabata’s ‘The Hafu Project’

By David Salazar

City Opera Vancouver is set to present “The Hafu Project.”

The work was created by Nikkei-Canadian baritone Luka Kawabata and pianist Perri Lo, who will perform the project on May 25 and 26.

“The Hafu Project” was created in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown as part of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s “Opera in the 21st Century” initiative. In the first chapter, titled “Paueru-Gai,” the work explores the experience of Japanese immigration and internment on the West Coast. That is followed up by Chapter 2 “Childhood” and “Hope.”

“This presentation of The HAFU Project is the culminating of years of planning. It is an opportunity to create a space where I can bring my full self into the world of classical music. This is an extremely personal project, where I will be speaking about my innermost experiences of growing up between cultures. In doing so, we are telling a story that represents every part of my lived experience equally without having to compromise,” Kawabata told OperaWire.  “I believe that everyone has a story about feeling that they don’t belong, so I hope that audiences resonate with the emotional journey of this piece. In presenting Japanese and Swedish song together and translating well-known works into unfamiliar languages, we are looking to open minds to the possibilities of representation in classical music.”