Biography

Internationally acclaimed Japanese soprano Mihoko Kinoshita brings authenticity and emotional depth to iconic characters. Among many of her major roles, Kinoshita won acclaim for Mimi in La Boheme, Liu in Turandot, and her signature role of Cio-Cio-san in Madame 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).

As Kinoshita’s popularity and visibility has risen, so has the demand for her talent.  Her principal achievement of 2018 was the role debut of Elsa in Lohengrin with the Tokyo Nikikai Opera.  Later that year, she appeared in the title role of Tosca in the New National Theatre Tokyo, and as Aida with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrea Battistoni, with whom she has collaborated on multiple occasions.  In 2017, she performed as Tosca with the Tokyo Nikikai Operam (in cooperation with Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, conducted by Daniele Rustioni).  In 2016, she performed Madama Butterfly with the Vancouver Opera.  She had the honor of performing Yani Rose at the world premiere of New Arrivals, and as Hana in The Memory Stone with the Houston Grand Opera.  Among her many concerts, Kinoshita has performed with the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.  Her first solo aria compact disk “Il Cuore” was released in 2015 under the Exton record label.

Kinoshita has perfected the role of Cio-Cio-san, earning world-wide acclaim for her unique and authentic interpretation.  England’s The Guardian paid tribute to Kinoshita’s singular and compelling Butterfly, …”[she] rises fearlessly to the challenges of the second half of the drama.”  The Detroit News offered generous praise, “Kinoshita’s vocal accomplishment is absolute. … Her acting instincts elevate her singing to a devastating naturalism.”

Although Butterfly differentiates her from her contemporaries and helped launch her career, Kinoshita has mastered and distinguished herself in other major roles as well, including Verdian heroines.  With her natural and flawless Italian opera style acquired through many years of training in Italy, she performed stunningly as Violetta in La Traviata, as Leonora in Il Trovatore, Desdemona in Otello, as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, and as a soloist in Messa de Requiem.  She also unveiled her fluency in French and German through Micaela in Carmen, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, and Leonore in Fidelio.

After completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the Musashino Academy of Music, Kinoshita studied abroad in Italy as a recipient of the Rotary International Friendship Scholarship, Recruit Scholarship, and the Rohme Music Foundation Scholarship.  Her extended studies with Renata Scotto in Accademia Santa Cecilia and the master class of Mirella Freni in Georg Solti Accademia in Italy further refined her talent and skills, leading to her brilliant debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan under Seiji Ozawa, and as Mimi in La Boheme.

 

The year of 2001 was a sensational one for the Japanese opera world with Kinoshita’s first place victories in key competitions held that year – Italian Vocal Concorso, Japan Italy Vocal Concorso, and Music Competition of Japan.  More prestigious awards followed:  first place at the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition (2007), second place at the Verdian Voice International Competition in Busseto (2005), and second place at the Riccardo Zandonai International Opera Competition (2004).  She was honored with the New Nippon Steel’s Fresh Artist Award (2005) and Japan’s highest honor, Idemitsu Music Award (2006).

 

In 2019, Kinoshita will perform Madama Butterfly at the Kelowna Opera in Canada and at the New National Theatre Tokyo.  In 2020, she will portray Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman at the New National Theatre Tokyo, and Leonore in Fidelio under the baton of Dan Ettinger.

 

Update- December 2018

 

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