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Photo Message on December 24, 1999

At the beginning of this month, I completed my seventh opera “The Tale of Genji” written in English. The world famous original novel was written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu, and Colin Graham wrote the libretto. This opera is commissioned by the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and will be world premiered by OTSL on June 15, 17, 21, 23, 25 in 2000.

This opera is quite historical. Lady Murasaki Shikibu had started to write it in the year 1000. Since the starting point of the planning of the opera, I thought I should complete the composition in the last month of 1999, because “The Tale of Genji” will become a memorial work for the second millennium. I needed three years to compose this opera, and in parallel with the English version I also completed the Japanese version.

The duration of “The Tale of Genji” is almost three hours without intermission. Usually the opera is set in two acts, however there is possibility to set it in three acts. The story takes place at a brilliant court in 10th~11th Century Japan, and the original novel is so loved by international readers,.(there are more than eight English translations, and some other language translations).
When the stage is limited, the opera can be performed as the standard version. On the other hand, if the theatre has multi stages and can bring a Gagaku ensemble and Bugaku (and Gigaku) dances, it can be performed as the grand opera version.

Standard instrumentation is 2•2•2•2, 2•2•2, 3perc, Pipa(and Qin) solo, Koto solo and Strings.

The characters are:

Prince GENJI Son of the Old Emperor and his concubine, Kiritsubo, a lady-in-waiting. Baritone
The OLD EMPEROR Bass or Bass-baritone *
The RECLUSE OF AKASHI Bass or Bass-baritone *
FUJITSUBO The Old Emperor’s consort, aunt of: Lyric Soprano **
MURASAKI Adopted by Genji, becomes his second wife **
Princess ROKUJO Widow of the Old Emperor’s brother:
Genji’s first mistress at age 24. Spinto soprano***
The Lady of AKASHI Grand-daughter of the Recluse of Akashi. Spinto soprano ***
Princess AOI Genji’s first wife; daughter of the Minister of the left Lyric mezzo
TO-NO-CHUJO Her brother; Genji’s great friend Tenor
KOKIDEN Original consort of the Old Emperor, supplanted first by Genji’s mother, then by Fujitsubo Contralto
SUZAKU Her son; Genji’s half-brother; successor to the Old Emperor Baritone
KOREMITSU Genji’s retainer Baritone
SHONAGON Murasaki’s grandmother, a nun Mezzo-soprano
The boy GENJI age 12, non-singing
The boy SUZAKU age 14, non-singing
The boy RYOZEN son of Fujitsubo and Genji, but thought to be the son of the Old Emperor. Age 3, non singing

Chorus of male and female courtiers and retainers
Property men (Actors)

** these roles is to be sung by the same singer
* and *** these roles can be sung by the same singer

The world premiere by the OTSL will be done in the English standard version.
The staff and the cast are:
Conductor Steuart Bedford
Stage Director Colin Graham
Set/Costume Designer Setsu Asakura
Wig and Make-up Design Tom Watson
Choreographer Onoe Kikushiro
Associete Designer Jun Matsuno
Associate Designer Robin Verhage Abrams
Lighting Designer Chrietopher Akerlind
English Diction Specialist Kathryn LaBouff
Chorus Master
Cary John Franklin
General Director Charles Mackay
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Pipa and qin solo Yang Jing
Koto solo Reiko Kimura
OTSL Chorus
Genji Mel Urich
Old Emperor/Recluse Andrew Wentzel
To-No-Chujo Richard Troxel
Fujitsubo/Murasaki Elizabeth Comeaux
Lady of Akashi
Shonagon/Kokiden Josepha Gayer
Aoi Jessica Miller
Suzaku Carleton Chambers
The boy Genji
The boy Suzaku
Assistant Stage Director
Stage Manager Gretchen Mueller

Minoru Miki