JFLA Lecture Series 21

japanese folktales meet the opera house

Photo from Wako City, Saitama performance in 2006

Thursday, July 17, 7PM

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
(5700 Wilshire Blvd. # 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Admission: Free

Street parking is available near JFLA. Click Here for Parking info

What connection do Japanese folktales and Western opera have with each other? There was, arguably, no connection before acclaimed maestro Hirai Hideaki composed his opera "Princess from the Moon", based on the Japanese folktale "Kaguyahime". In his lecture on July 17, 2014, Mr. Hirai will discuss his approach to blending famous ancient Japanese stories with the exquisite art form of opera, and incorporating public participation to create something harmonious and unprecedented. Using a more flexible production style than is typical in his field, Mr. Hirai's operas reflect the culture of the regions in which they are performed. Mr. Hirai will share his views on this as well as the appeal of Japanese language and poetic sentiment ("utagokoro") when fused with the quintessentially Western art form of opera, and how this fusion is blazing a new trail and evolving the art of opera.


Lecturer: Hideaki Hirai

HIDEAKI HIRAI is one of the most gifted young conductors from Japan. In December, 2013, "Maestro Hirai made a remarkable Carnegie Hall debut" (The New York Culture Examiner) conducting from memory the Beethoven 9th Symphony with New York Festival Orchestra (NYFO). Upon achieving great success, NYFO has appointed him Music Director and Conductor, starting from 2014-2015 season. Since 1998, as a Co-founder and Principal Guest Conductor, he has collaborated with Czech Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

In the 2012/13 season, he debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper and in Salzburg for the Austrian premiere of his own acclaimed opera, "Princess from the Moon" which has been performed more than 20 times worldwide. Besides this, Maestro Hirai has written two other operas: "True Love of Komachi" and "The White Fox", which have also become very popular and have been performed many times in Japan.

Mr. Hirai, born into a celebrated musical family, studied piano, violin and composition with his grandfather, eminent composer Kozaburo Hirai and cello with his father, Takeichiro Hirai, noted cellist whom Pablo Casals designated as his successor. Hideaki Hirai graduated from the University of Rochester (New York) with a Bachelor 's degree in political science, where he studied conducting under David Effron at the Eastman School of Music. He completed his Master's degree in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory of the John's Hopkins University under Frederik Prausnitz, followed by further studies under Otakar Trhlik at the Janacek Academy of Music (Czech Republic) and his mentor Sir Colin Davis in London.

Official Website: http://www.hideaki-hirai.com/index_e.html