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Friday, July 18, 2003


Nikikai to perform R. Strauss opera

The classical vocal group Nikikai will present the opera "Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose)" by Richard Strauss in the original German -- a first for an all-Japanese singing company -- at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall July 20-27.

The piece, a joint production between Nikikai and the Cologne Opera, will also be the first production in Japan directed by Guenter Kraemer, one of Europe's leading opera directors. The music will be played by the Tokyo Metroplitan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume of France.

The opera, the libretto for which was written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, was originally set in the Vienna of the 1740s. It revolves around the 32-year-old wife of a marshal -- Marie Therese, Princess von Werdenberg (Noriko Sasaki/Yukie Okura) -- her 17-year-old lover Octavian (Michiko Hayashi/Megumi Isaka), her country relative Baron Ochs von Lerchenau (Yasuhiro Sato/Yoshiyuki Shikano) and Sophie von Faninal (Hiroko Kouda/Emi Sawata), daughter of a wealthy bourgeois.

Kraemer adds a historical twist to the production in an attempt to explore the relations of men and women down the ages. Act I is set in a palace in the 1740s; Act II, in the house of the wealthy Faninals, jumps to the 20th century, illustrating the gap between the new rich and the aristocracy around 1911; and Act III is set in a wine restaurant in Vienna that became a popular tourist spot in the 1960s.

The opera, accompanied by Japanese supertitles, will be performed July 20 at 3 p.m., July 21 at 2 p.m., July 26 at 3 p.m. and July 27 at 2 p.m. at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall in Ueno.

Tickets are priced between 8,000 yen and 20,000 yen and are available from Nikikai ticket center, (03) 3796-1831.

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