Biography

Internationally acclaimed Japanese soprano Mihoko Kinoshita brings life and emotional depth to iconic characters, ranging from Mimi in La Bohème and Liu in Turandot to her signature role of Cho-Cho-san (Butterfly) of Madama Butterfly. Critics praise her “luxurious and elegant, entrancing and exhilarating” voice (Houston Grand Opera) and acting skills that convey a “deep grasp of (the tragic) character’s emotions and nuances.” (Ventura County Star).

 

Throughout her career as a professional opera singer, Mihoko has earned a reputation as one of the best Butterflies in the world. Her performance in the role has received numerous accolades from both fans and critics. For example, Midland Symphony Orchestra wrote “Kinoshita embraced the full range of the Butterfly character, and was thoroughly convincing whether expressing the shyness of a child bride, the joy of young love or the sorrow and grief of a wronged wife.” The hard-to-please Guardian notes Mihoko’s compelling Butterfly “rises fearless to the challenges of the second half of the drama.”

 

Today Mihoko is a sought-after Butterfly, having performed the title role worldwide, including but not limited to:

 

Although Butterfly is an important part of her career, Mihoko is also renowned for her performances as Verdian heroines, with her authentic and flawless Italian opera style she acquired through many years of training in Italy, including her stunning roles as Violetta in La Traviata, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Desdemona in Otello, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, and as a soloist in Messa da Requiem.

 

Mihoko also continuously pushes her frontiers to expand her repertoire of work, as her life and professional experiences add more depth and new dimension to her voice and performances. She performed Yani Rose at the world premiere of “New Arrivals” (2012) and Hana in “The Memory Stone,” both with Houston Grand Opera. In 2017, she will be performing the title role of Tosca at Nikikai in cooperation with Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, followed by the title role of Aida at Sapporo Cultural Theater under conductor Andrea Battistoni as the opening performance of the theater in 2018.

 

Her distinguished career started when she swept first prizes at “the three major voice competitions” in Japan in 2001: Italian Vocal Concorso, Japan Italy Vocal Concorso and Music Competition of Japan. Since then, she has won many prestigious awards, including first prize at the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition (2007), as well as second prizes at the Verdian Voice International Competition in Busseto (2005) and the Riccardo Zandonai International Opera Competition (2004). In 2005, she was honored with the New Nippon Steel’s “Fresh Artist Award” and in 2006 received Japan’s highest honor, the “Idemitsu Music Award.”

 

Mihoko was born in Kagoshima, Japan, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Musashino Academy of Music. In 2001, she traveled to Italy on a Rotary International Friendship Scholarship, Recruit Scholarship, and Rohme Music Foundation Scholarship to continue her music studies at Accademia Santa Cecilia Opera Studio Renata Scotto class and Solti Opera Academy Mirella Freni Master class. The following year, Mihoko debuted in Tokyo at the Bunka Kaikan as Donna Elvira with Seiji Ozawa in Don Giovanni and as Mimi in La Bohème. In 2006, she sang a gala concert with the Toscanini Philharmonic, conducted by Lorin Maazel.

 

She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her family.

 

Performances

Year  Role
2002 Debut, Donna Elvira of “Don Giovanni” at Bunka Kaikan with Seiji Ozawa (Tokyo, Japan)
Italian debut, title role, Madama Butterfly, Santa Margherita Opera Festival (Italy)
2003 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Belgrade Opera (Belgrade, Serbia)
2004 Violetta in La Traviata, Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
Giorgetta in Il Tabarro at the New National Theatre (Tokyo, Japan)
2005 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Sofia National Opera (Sofia/Bulgaria)
Mimi, La Bohème, Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
2006 Gala concert with the Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra under Lorin Maazel (Japan tour)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
2007 Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera at the Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
Verdi’s Requiem, Spokane Symphony (Spokane, United States)
2008 London debut, Wigmore Hall at the Sir Georg Solti Anniversary Concert (London, England)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Midland Symphony Orchestra (Midland, Mich., United States)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Baltimore Opera (Baltimore, United States)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Michigan Opera Theater (Detroit, United States)
Violetta in La Traviata, New National Theatre (Tokyo, Japan)
2009 Liu in Turandot, Kanagawa Prefectural Civic Hall (Yokohama, Japan) / Biwako Hall (Otsu, Japan)
Michaela in Carme, Hyogo Prefecture Citizens’ Hall (Kobe, Japan) / Nikikai Opera Theater (Tokyo, Japan)
2010 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Phoenix Opera (Phoenix, United States)
Canadian debut, title role, Madama Butterfly, Vancouver Opera (Vancouver, Canada)
2011 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Royal Albert Hall in London (London, England)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Opera Omaha (Omaha, United States)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Teatro Verdi (Pisa)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Sofia National Opera (Sofia/Bulgaria)
2012 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Syracuse Opera (Syracuse, United States)
Yani Rose, world premier of “New Arrivals,” Houston Grand Opera (Houston, United States)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Opera Company of Middlebury (Middlebury, Vt., United States)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Opera Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, United States)
Verdi’s Requiem, Syracuse Symphony (Syracuse, United States)
Mimi in La Bohème, New National Theatre (Tokyo, Japan)
2013 Hana, world premier of “The Memory Stone,” Houston Grand Opera (Houston, United States)
Antonia, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Nikikai Opera (Tokyo, Japan)
2014 Title role, Madama Butterfly, Nikikai Opera (Tokyo, Japan)
2015 Recital at Duncan Recital Hal of Rice University in Houston (Houston, United States)
2016 Title role, Fidelio, opening performance at ROHM Theater Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Vancouver Opera (Vancouver/Canada)
Title role, Madama Butterfly, Sofia National Opera (Sofia/Bulgaria)
Recital in Tivoli Festival, Italy
2017 Title role, Tosca, Nikikai Opera (Tokyo, Japan) in cooperation with Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
2018 Title role, Aida, opening performance at Sapporo Cultural Theater (Sapporo, Japan)

Awards

Year Award Prize
2001 Italian Vocal Concorso First
2001 Japan-Italy Vocal Concorso First
2001 Music Competition of Japan First
2002 Santa Margherita International Opera Competition First
2003 Bevagna International Opera Competition First
2004 Riccardo Zandonai International Opera Competition Second
2005 Voci Verdiane International Opera Competition in Busseto Second
2005 New Nippon Steel “Fresh Artist Award”
2006 Idemitsu Music Award
2007 Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition First

TV appearances

Year
2002 NHK-BS Special live performance at Glover Garden
2007・2015 “Untitled Concert” TV Asahi