The Royal Opera will be touring venues in Japan this September as part of UK in Japan 2019-20, an exciting year of UK-Japan exchanges, the London-based company has announced.

The tour begins with a revival of David McVicar’s staging of Charles-François Gounod’s masterpiece Faust (1859). This production sets the action in Paris in the early 1870s and revels in the opera’s gothic elements. The cast features Italian tenor Vittorio Grigòlo in the title role, Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as his diabolical companion Méphistophélès and American soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen as Faust’s lover Marguerite.

The production opens at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Ueno Park on 12 September 2019. It will also visit Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama.

Also featuring on the tour is Keith Warner’s psychologically probing and moving production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Shakespeare-inspired opera Otello (1887). Warner sensitively examines the relationships between Moors, Turks and Westerners in Shakespeare’s time, and shows how Otello feels like an outsider in his society, which contributes to his loss of confidence and gradual mental collapse.

The cast includes American tenor Gregory Kunde in the title role, Armenian soprano Hrachuhi Bassenz as Desdemona and Canadian bass-baritone Gerald Finley as Iago. It opens at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall on 14 September 2019 and then visits Tokyo Bunka Kaikan.

The Royal Opera’s Music Director Antonio Pappano will conduct all performances.

UK in Japan 2019-20 is jointly organised by the British Council and the British Embassy Tokyo. It is a year of exchanges between the two countries beginning in September 2019. It marks the start of the Rugby World Cup and will run to the end of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in September 2020.



Left: Faust, Act II, The Royal Opera (2011) (ROH/Catherine Ashmore). Right: Otello, Act III, The Royal Opera (2017) (ROH/Catherine Ashmore).