Premiere Opera had its first public performance last night at Asia Society Texas Center. This enchanting chamber opera is a gorgeous and stirring piece that examines the power and necessity of memory for the advancement of the human species. It opens with rollicking thunder and a stunning, breathtaking image that is representative of the destruction of Japan in wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. As a woman sings about various terrible and destructive moments from Japan’s rich history, the scene shifts to the tea room in Houston’s Japanese garden. Here the non-linear opera explores how such tragedies affect Japanese-Americans and immigrants from Japan, deftly playing on the emotions, sympathy, and empathy of the assembled audience. The compelling opera elicited several gasps of sorrow, pain, and understanding from the opening night audience as the beauty of the piece spoke to our hearts, minds, and souls.


The star of the evening is Mihoko Kinoshita’s elegant and pristine soprano voice, as she thrillingly sings Hana. Each note is rendered with poise and dexterous exactitude, providing the audience with emotional depth, palpable weight, and insightful clarity in each and every phrase. Her soprano instrument is luxurious and elegant, entrancing and exhilarating. Mihoko Kinoshita’s astonishing, priceless, and keen talent makes ardent and earnest Hana the most relatable character. She thoughtfully and deeply impresses upon our hearts, minds, and souls throughout the performance. Her anguish is tangible, her desires heartrending. Mihoko Kinoshita’s Hana is simply spellbinding, spectacular, and immaculately performed.

Takaoki Onishi (The Man); Mihoko Kinoshita (Hana); Ji Hyun Jang (Rei); Nina Yoshida Nelsen (The Woman)

All photos by Felix Sanchez, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera.

(Original: BroadWayWorld )