Saturday, January 21, 2012

Profile: Soprano Hiromi Omura

(Photo credit: Yves Renaud)

Hiromi Omura is Not Madama Butterfly
By Richard Burnett

There are not many great opera singers who come out of Japan. And fewer who take the opera world by storm. But Hiromi Omura makes opera aficionados swoon.

“I played the violin when I was child – I wanted to be a great violin player,” Omura tells The Charlebois Post. “But I began too late. And then one day I found my voice.”

Omura became Madama Butterfly.

But Japan’s celebrated soprano has been fighting that stereotype ever since.

“I went to Italy to learn how to sing in Italian because it is a beautiful language and very lyrical,” Omura says. “There are many great Italian opera singers. But in Japan there are not so many. There are few great opera singers in Japan and that has a lot to do with the language.”
Omura has performed on stages around the world, but it is her moving portrayals in Montreal as Maria in Simon Boccanegra and Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly that won over audiences and critics alike. 

(Photo credit: Yves Renaud)

But Omura – who studied at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, her home town, and then attended master classes in Italy and at Marseille’s CNIPA – has faught hard to break that mould, much like African-American soprano Nicole Cabell who also worked hard to escape the opera ghetto.
“They want her [Nicole] to sing Aïda and they want me to sing Madama Butteryfly. And that’s what I did for many, many years. That’s all they asked of me. But the opera world  is changing. Here I am in Montreal playing Leonora in Il Trovatore. I have escaped the ghetto.”
It’s a long way away from the opera halls of Tokyo, an opera-obsessed city that celebrates Omura as a hero and role model. 
“There is a great opera scene in my hometown,” Omura says. “And I feel incredibly blessed to be able to represent Japan around the world.”
Hiromi Omura stars in L’Opera de Montreal’s production of Guiseppe Verdi’s classic Il Trovatore at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier at Montreal’s Place des Arts, January 21-24-26-28. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. nightly. Surf to for more info and tickets

1 comment:

  1. I saw the live simulcast of Madama Butterfly at the Moncrieff Theatre in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia. Hiromi was asbolutely wonderful. Unfortunately the simulcast didn't do her justice. From her photo, she is very pretty and young. I am so thankful our country area got to see the production.


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