Message from the Artistic Director of Opera about our 2016/2017 Season

2016/2017 Season Opera

Der Ring des Nibelungen "Die Walküre"











Message from the Artistic Director of Opera, IIMORI Taijiro

Already in my third season as Artistic Director, I strive to share the joy of opera with you all. In doing so, it gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome you at the foyer or from the orchestra pit of the Opera House.


In 2017, it will be 20 years since the opening of the New National Theatre, Tokyo. We have been working hard over the past three years to bring you Wagner's tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen" on the greatest scale in the history of opera. We were greatly encouraged by the overwhelming response from many of you who came to see "Das Rheingold" in the 2015/2016 Season expressing the hope that you would be able to see the sequels. We will be opening the 2016/2017 Season with the second work, "Die Walküre", and closing the season with the third work, "Siegfried". Like "Das Rheingold", both of these productions were directed by the late Götz Friedrich in collaboration with the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki. World-class heldentenor Stephen GOULD, who played an outstanding Loge last autumn, will be performing throughout the tetralogy; he will play Siegmund this season, as well as the title role in "Siegfried". Brünnhilde in "Die Walküre" will be played by Iréne THEORIN, while Fricka will be played by Elena ZHIDKOVA, both highly popular artists at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. Wotan in "Die Walküre" and Der Wanderer in "Siegfried" will be played by Greer GRIMSLEY, who made his debut in this role at the New National Theatre, Tokyo in the 2015/2016 Season. Brünnhilde in "Siegfried" will be played by world-class Wagnerian soprano Ricarda MERBETH, well-known at the New National Theatre, Tokyo. This season will certainly feature a reappearance of the star-studded line-up of performers enjoyed by everyone in "Das Rheingold", bringing together the world's most popular Wagnerian performers in full force.


The new production this season is the bel canto masterpiece "Lucia di Lammermoor" by Gaetano DONIZETTI. It will feature Olga PERETYATKO, the up-and-coming coloratura soprano who is gaining international attention, and will be directed by the prominent director Jean-Louis GRINDA who is also the General Director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. We are planning to have the aria in the famous "Mad Scene" accompanied on the glass harmonica, for which it was originally written.


The first of our returning repertory will be "La Bohème" by Giacomo PUCCINI. This will be followed by Italian comic opera "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" by Gioachino ROSSINI, and the tempestuous passion of "Carmen" by Georges BIZET. "Madama Butterfly" will see highly successful NNT Opera Studio graduate ANDO Fumiko in the leading role. This season will also feature "Otello" by Giuseppe VERDI as well as a performance by world famous NNT Opera Studio graduate NAKAMURA Eri as Susanna in Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro".


I hope you enjoy the many contrasting masterpieces we have lined up for the 2016/2017 Season at the Opera House of the New National Theatre, Tokyo; from the deep and philosophical works by WAGNER to DONIZETTI's Italian opera "Lucia di Lammermoor". We very much look forward to welcoming you.

Profile of IIMORI Taijiro

IIMORI Taijiro

Born in 1940. Graduated from the Music Department (Conductor Course) of Toho Gakuen College of Drama and Music in 1962. Made his first appearance in 1961 with the Fujiwara Opera Company in Suor Angelica. Won fourth place at the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Music Competition for Conductors(1966) and the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition (1969). In 1972, he won the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts Best Newcomer and the Prize for Best Conductor of the Season at the Barcelona Gran Theatro del Liceu. From 1972-76, he was the conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and from 1970 the Musical Assistant at the Bayreuth Music Festival and participated in a number of historical performances. He has appeared as conductor at opera houses in Bremen, Mannheim, Hamburg and Regensburg. After becoming Principal Conductor of the Opera Forum Enschede, he became the conductor of the Enschede City Conservatory Orchestra from 1979 to 1995. From 1993 to 1998, he was resident conductor at the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997, he became resident conductor at the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and became Honorary Conductor Laureate from April 2012. From 2001 to 2010, he was resident conductor of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, and its Honorary Conductor Laureate from 2011.

He is a member of the Japan Art Academy since 2014, and was appointed as the Artistic Director of Opera at the New National Theatre, Tokyo in September 2014.


2001 32nd Suntory Music Award

2004 54th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts

2004 Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government

2008 43rd Osaka Municipal Award

2010 Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette

2015 56th Mainichi Art Awards (music division)

His appearances as conductor at the New National Theatre, Tokyo

2000 "Bluebeard's Castle"

2008 "Ariadne auf Naxos" (Regional Tour)

2012 "Eine florentinische Tragödie" "L'heure espagnole" (NNT Opera Studio)

2014 "Parsifal"

2015 "The Flying Dutchman" "Das Rheingold"

He is scheduled to conduct,

2016 "Lohengrin"

2016 "Die Walküre"

2017 "Siegfried"