Classical Music NEWS
Hiroshi Wakasugi to Become New National Theatre Music Director
 Hiroshi Wakasugi has been named artistic consultant to the opera division of Tokyo's New National Theatre. The post is a transitional phase to his installation as the division's next artistic director, scheduled for September, 2007. Mr. Wakasugi held a press conference at the theatre to express his aspirations for the opera division.
 Having once held a music director post for a European opera house, Mr. Wakasugi has often been the subject of rumors concerning the New National Theatre ever since its establishment. To date, he had consistently expressed his firm refusal to consider any offers.
 He explained that he had been surprised by the recent offer, which had come abruptly in May. "I asked for a week to think it over," he said.
 The following week, on May 31, he met with the president of the New National Theatre, Ms. Atsuko Toyama. It happened to be his seventieth birthday.
 He says that made him decide to accept. "Since I'd reached that milestone, it seemed a good time to take on something new."
 Mindful that the current artistic director, Mr. Thomas Novohradsky, had met with strong opposition from opera companies and others to his departure from Japan's customary double-casting of opera roles, Mr. Wakasugi emphasized his intention to maintain a moderate policy regarding allotment of roles to Japanese performers.
 "I am not going to implement major changes. I want to uphold the legacy of my predecessors in this position," he said. "That means doing my best to insure opportunities for Japanese singers to appear. So if a foreign singer gets a leading role, I'll be looking to have a preview performance using the Japanese standby. Another possibility is double-casting Japanese singers in supporting roles."
 The tenor of his remarks was that he would avoid conflict and adhere to the double-casting of Japanese singers as a main policy.
 Concerning programming, he declared, "I will certainly do Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, great Twentieth Century works, and Japanese composers. We'll balance off traditional stagings with new interpretations, half and half."
 One new idea he mentioned concerned orchestras comprised by members of the Tokyo Symphony and Tokyo Philharmonic orchestras.
 "I would like to have discussions about whether we could use the name 'New National Theatre Orchestra,' just when they play at the New National."
Written by Tokihiko UMEZU
Mainichi Shimbun: July 26, 2005
The above article was translated from the Japanese and reproduced by courtesy of The Mainichi Newspapers Co..
Related website:
New National Theatre, Tokyo English)

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