Real life pair perform in“rom-com” opera The Japanese Princess

Lyric Opera of Melbourne opens its 2017 season with the Australian premiere of The Japanese Princess; transporting you to Imperial Japan as imagined by Camille Saint Saëns in 1862

A real life husband and wife will take the stage as co-stars in this  light-hearted, entertaining “rom com” in Lyric Opera’s Australian premiere of Saint Saëns’s The Japanese Princess, a one-act opera ‘’comique’

The Japanese Princess tells the story of Kornelis, an art student with a passion for all things Japanese, and his fiancé Lena. Kornelis becomes obsessed with the portrait of a mysterious Japanese Princess called Ming which makes Lena question herself, her relationship and Kornelis’ sanity.

This romantic story sung in French, the language of love, will see real life husband and wife team, Robert and Kate Macfarlane take on the lead roles of Kornelis and Lena. Robert and Kate enjoy successful careers, both in Australia and in Germany, spending six months a year in each country.

“As a couple who are both opera singers, it’s often hard to see where working life ends and our personal lives begin. We’ve done countless performances together, but The Japanese Princess will be the first time it’s only the two of us singing on stage,” said Robert. They will alternate with Kimberley Colman and Hew Wagner along with dancer Arisa Yura, who will perform the role of Ming as seen via Kornelis’ drug-induced hallucinations …

The production marks the debut of Director and dancer Miki Oikawa who will draw on her own training and heritage for the production.  “Back when the opera was composed in 1862, people were fascinated by Japanese orientalism. At the same time, the Japanese were fascinated by the west. Similarly, when I was growing up in Japan, all of the Japanese fashion magazines were filled with American models,” Miki said.

The Japanese Princess explores our human nature at its very core, the idea that the grass is greener on the other side. Kornelis discovers, much like all of us, that this is not always the case. Being my first production as lead director, I’m really excited that I can draw on my own experiences, and who better to do it with than Lyric because they’re always willing to bring rare pieces to life. I can’t wait to see what Melburnians think.”

Joining Miki is an exceptional creative team with lighting design by Lucy Birkinshaw; costume design by Lucy Wilkins; set design by Christina Logan Bell; and conducted by Lyric’s Artistic Director, Pat Miller.

With performances lasting just an hour in the intimate setting of Chapel off Chapel The Japanese Princess is the perfect operatic experience in our busy world and an ideal component to a terrific Melbourne night out.

The Japanese Princess will be performed from March 11 to 18, with early and late shows each night at Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran.

Tickets are available at Chapel off Chapel.

Lyric Opera of Melbourne delivers innovative operatic experiences. The company is committed to programming lesser known works including Australian works in intimate environments, providing opportunities for emerging artists and engaging diverse audiences.

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