Opera Parallèle to Present World Premiere of ‘The Emissary’

By Francisco Salazar

Opera Parallèle has commissioned multi-faceted Japanese composer Kenji Oh for his very first opera along with prolific librettist Kelley Rourke to create an adaptation of “The Emissary.”

The new family opera is based on the award-winning novel by celebrated Japanese author Yoko Tawada, featuring an English translation by Margaret Mitsutani.

The new opera will be performed on Oct. 27 and 28 and will star Angela Yam as Mumei, Bradley Kynard as Yoshiro, and the Lick Wilmerding High School Chorus.

Nicole Paiement and Jaco Wong will alternate at the podium. Yayoi Kambara will direct the production.

In a statement, Composer Kenji Oh said, “Writing an opera for the first time was a demanding task. I had never been really into opera music actually. Opera felt like a very special thing for special people somehow. I’m very glad for this opportunity encouraging me to explore this art form of opera. I’m so grateful for Opera Parallèle’s generous and courageous spirit. I would not be able to have completed this piece without the support and encouragement from my writing partner Kelley Rourke, Nicole Paiement and the team at OP. Even though I was not particularly knowledgeable about opera, I realized I had been prepared for this by writing vocal music, programmatic instrumental music, and media music such as theater plays, films, television, video games, and dance performances. I reconfirmed my passion for storytelling and the power of storytelling plus music as I worked on this commission.”