Redefining Opera as a Living Art FormVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Art for Breakfast with Rumiko Hasegawa
What is your perception of “opera”? Do you think it’s long and old-fashioned? Opera is a human drama performed by music. Complicated and raw human emotions are presented through singing and acting. It is a beautiful art form. But today in 2023, there is a disconnect between opera and people. When opera became popular over 250 years ago, it was the main form of entertainment and the center of social life. In 2023, our lifestyles have changed immensely, and yet opera has stayed the same. Their thought was that this gap is keeping people away from it and decided to adapt it to the present time.
Rumiko Hasegawa founded More Than Musical in 2016 to make opera more accessible to the general public. These operas are performed in non-traditional theater spaces. The first production was a 90-minute La Traviata instead of three and a half hours without destroying the integrity of the original story. This was followed by Kiss of Tosca and Carmen | Hong Kong. All were sold-out performances receiving positive reviews from the media inside and outside of Hong Kong.
During the pandemic in 2021 and without any theatres to perform, Ms. Hasegawa produced a documentary-style film La bohéme: New York Love Story. With the film to be world premiered later in 2023 in Japan, she will take us on her journey of how she is redefining opera as a living art form for us today.
Please join us for an insightful session!
Event and Registration Details
- This event will be conducted in in-person and online, and registration is required.
- In-person participation is for members and guests only. Please pay your fee by credit card (Visa or Mastercard only) or at the door.
- Online participation is open to the public and free.
In 2016 she founded the non-profit organization More Than Musical, Ltd., in Hong Kong after she served as a member of the board of directors of Opera Hong Kong for several years. Previously, she worked at FICC of Goldman Sachs Tokyo and Hong Kong as the first Japanese female partner.
About La bohéme: New York Love Story
La bohéme: New York Love Story, a movie produced by More Than Musical. In Puccini’s La bohème four ‘bohemians’ – a poet, a painter, a musician, and a philosopher – are living together in Paris, when one freezing Christmas Eve their lives are changed forever.
A seamstress named Mimì knocks on their door looking for candlelight, and she and the poet Rodolfo fall in love. However, the rush of love at first sight soon gives way to something much darker – Mimì is desperately ill, and Rodolfo, in his poverty, cannot provide for her.
The bohemians are sharply awakened to the harsh realities of life. This story resonates powerfully today. In More Than Musical’s reimagined film of the opera, the setting is updated to 2021 New York. Our bohemians go to Manhattan’s Chinatown at Chinese New Year, and Mimì‘s terrible coughing strongly suggests that she is suffering from Covid.
The film focuses specifically on the personal and artistic struggles of young people in the Asian, Asian-American, and people-of-color communities. The film captures the heartbreaking story of a generation of artists going through these challenging times.
The creative team includes:
Filmmaker Laine Rettmer, whose directing credits at Loft Opera include La bohème and Barber of Seville, wrote the screenplay for our film in addition to directing. Alice Millar is the Director of Photography. Music Director is Sean Kelly (Opera Omaha). Julia Noulin-Merat is the Creative Director.
The cast includes Ziwen Xiang, (Rodolfo), Bizhou Chang (Mimi), Luis Orozco (Marcello), Larisa Martinez, (Musetta), Markel Reed (Schaunard), and Hidenori Inoue (Colline), with a cameo appearance by the renowned countertenor, Anthony Roth Costanzo, in the role of Parpignol.