Beethoven symphony tops new music festival

Italian soprano Eva Mei

The curtain goes up Saturday night on the 1st Okinawa International Music Festival, which will showcase Beethoven’s Symphony Nr. 9 d-moll op. 125.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for the festival program starting at 6 p.m. at the Ginowan Convention Center in Ginowan City. Admission is ¥4,000. The Ryukyu Symphony Orchestra on strings and the Okinawa International Music Festival Chorus performs the program.

The 1st stage will be a piece from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9 in Major C and for the 2nd stage will be Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. Performing alongside the orchestra is soprano singer Eva Mei of Italy, pianist Hanayo Yamada, alto Reiko Kaneshima, tenor Takumi Yogi and baritone Hiroki Nakamoto.

Eva Mei was born in Fabriano, Italy. She entered the Conservatory of Firenze Luihi Cherubini with the highest award. Her debut in 1990 was at the Vienna National Theater where she was elected for the role of Konstanze in the opera Singspiel ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’.  Her natural talent, beauty and stabilized singing voice was acknowledged and since then she has been singing in the lead theaters in Italy. Her outstanding coloratura soprano is put in full display specially when performing Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi. Now with her beautiful and transparent voice, she has become one of Italy’s best known and most important sopranos.

Pianist Hanayo Yamada was born in Naha. She started to learn the piano at 4, and is a two-time 1st prize winner of the Ryukyu Shimpo Music Competition. Alto Reiko Kaneshima was invited to Santa Margherita, Italy in August 2002 to perform the role of Suzuki in ‘Madame Butterfly’. Tenor Takumi Yogi was born in Kin Village, Okinawa. After receiving his Master Degree from Kunitachi College of Music, he continued to improve his skills in Bologna, Italy.

 Baritone Hiroki Nakamoto graduated from the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts with a Masters Degree and continued to study at The Munich National College of Music. Conductor Yuji Yoshida has conducted ‘Pagliacci’ in 2007 in Rome’s Teatro Dell’ Opera Di Roma. From then he has conducted in Egypt, Latvia, Romania, France and Hong Kong. July of this year he was awarded the Caruso Award in Italy for his great efforts.