Danielle De Niese, Myrtò Papatanasiu & Nino Machaidze Headline New National Theatre, Tokyo 2019-20 Opera Season

By Nicole Kuchta

The New National Theatre, Tokyo has announced its 2019-20 opera season!

Ten operas, including four new productions, are included in the lineup. The season will feature classics of the Baroque, Russian, and bel canto repertoire.

Dmitry Bertman’s new production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” will kick off the opera season, and will feature Vasily Ladyuk in the title role alongside Evgenia Muraveva as Tatyana. Also included in the cast are Pavel Kolgatin as Vladimir Lensky, Yayoi Toriki as Olga, Alexey Tikhomirov as Prince Gremin, Kyoko Moriyama as Madame Larina, Setsuko Takemoto as Filipyevna, Hiroyuki Narita as Zaretsky, and Tadahiro Masujima as Monsieur Triquet. Andriy Yurkevych will conduct the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Performance Dates: Oct. 1 – 12, 2019

A popular new production of Donizetti’s bel canto comedy “Don Pasquale” by director Stefano Vizioli will follow, with Roberto Scandiuzzi starring in the title role. Also featured are Biago Pizzuti as Dottor Malatesta, Maxim Mironov as Ernesto, and Danielle De Niese as Norina. Corrando Rovaris will conduct.

Performance Dates: Nov. 9 – 17, 2019

Verdi’s “La Traviata,” directed by Vincent Boussard, will feature Myrtò Papatanasiu in the role of Violetta alongside Ayón Rivas as Alfredo. Ivan Repušić, General Music Director of the Staatsoper Hannover, will conduct.

Performance Dates: Nov. 28 – Dec. 7, 2019

The new year kicks off with Puccini’s beloved “La Boheme,” directed by Jun Aguni. The stage design will be a realistic representation of the original setting, 19th century Paris. Nino Machaidze will sing Mimi, and Matteo Lippi will sing her lover Rodolfo. Rounding out the cast are Mario Cassi as Marcello, Akiho Tsujii as Musetta, Kenji Moriguchi as Schaunard, Hiroshi Matsui as Colline, Yoshiyuki Shikano as Benoit, and Masahiko Hare as Alcindoro. Paolo Carignani will conduct.

Performance Dates: Jan 24 – Feb. 2, 2020

Next in the lineup is Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” Josef E. Köpplinger’s production of the opera is set in Francoist Spain the the late 1960s. Soprano Aya Wakizono will sing Rosina, and René Barbera will sing Il Conte d’Almaviva. Also featured in the cast are Paolo Bordogna as Bartolo, Florian Sempey as Figaro, Marco Spotti as Don Basilio, Etsuko Kanoh as Berta, and Kenichi Yoshikawa as Fiorello. Antonello Allemandi will conduct.

Performance Dates: Feb. 6 – 16, 2020

Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” directed by Damiano Michieletto, will be set in a modern camping ground surrounded by dense forest. Eleonora Buratto and Anna Goryachova will sing Fiordiligi and Dorabella, while Giovanni Sala will sing Ferrando. Simone Alberghini will perform the role of Don Alfonso, and Nobuko Takashi will perform as Despina. Paolo Olmi will conduct.

Performance Dates: Mar. 18 – 24, 2020

A new production of Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” by Laurent Pelly will be NNTT’s first ever full-fledged Baroque opera. This production brings the story to a warehouse in an Egyptian museum, the stage design featuring paintings and giant statues. Ayataj Shikhalizada will perform the title role, and Miah Persson will perform as Cleopatra. Also featured are Etsuko Kanoh as Cornelia, Mika Kaneko as Sesto, Daichi Fujiki as Tolomeo, and Toshiyuki Muramatsu as Nireno. Rinaldo Alessandrini will conduct.

Performance Dates: Apr. 7- 12, 2020

Philippe Arlaud’s production of Offenbach’s “Le Contes d’Hoffmann” uses “radiating wit and humor, as well as effective use of fluorescent colors” to highlight the opera’s sense of fantasy. Stefan Pop stars in the title role, with Yuka Kobatashi as his muse, Nicklausse. Olympia will be performed by Yoko Yasui, Antonia by Mihoko Kinoshita, and Giulietta by Keiko Yokoyama. Rounding out the cast are Kyle Ketelsen as the four villains and Marko Letonja conducting.

Performance Dates: Apr. 19 – 25, 2020

Strauss’ one-act masterpiece “Salome” is set around a huge ancient well in this production by the late August Everding. The title role will be sung by Alex Penda. Also featured are Ian Storey as Herodes, Jennifer Lamore as Herodias, Tomas Tomasson as Johanaan, Jun Suzuki as Naraboth, Etsuko Kanoh as Ein Page de Herodias, Takashi Tomokiyo as Ein Cappadocier, Takumi Yogi, Hideyuki Aochi, Minoru Kamoshita, Shuhei Itoga, Shigeru Hatakeyama, Tatsuhiko Kitagawa, Naoyuki Akitani, Nayuta Shimizu, and Hiroshi Kaneko. Constantin Trinks will conduct.

Performance Dates: May 17 – 26, 2020

The opera season will wrap up with a new production of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” part two of the NNTT’s collaboration with the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan for the “Summer Festival Opera 2019-20 Japan↔Tokyo↔World” series, following last year’s “Turandot.” Wagner’s opera is a “resounding celebration of what it means to be human, and from which emerges art that, both in its respect for the traditional and thirst for the new, has achieved immortality.” The large cast features Thomas Johannes Mayer as Hans Sachs, Bjarni Thor Kristinsson as Veit Pogner, Kota Murakami and Kunz Vogelgesang, Kei Yonashiro as Konrad Nachtigall, Adrian Eröd as Sixtus Beckmesser, Takashi Aoyama as Fritz Kothner, Atsushi Kanno as Balthasar Zorn, Keiroh Ohara as Ulrich Eisslinger, Tatsundo Ito as Augustin Moser, Toru Onuma as Hermann Ortel, Akira Hasegawa as Hans Schwarz, Hidekazu Tsumaya as Hans Foltz, Tomislav Muzek as Walther von Stolzing, Tetsuya Mochizuki as David, Masako Hayashi as Eva, Makiko Yamashita as Magdalene, and Fumihiko Shimura as Ein Nachtwächter. Jens-Daniel Herzog will direct this joint international production with The Salzburg Easter Festival, Semperoper, and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and Ono Kazushi, Artistic Director of the NNTT, will conduct.

Performance Dates: June 21 – 30, 2020