Hana will be singing Sylvia/Servilia in the Blue cast of Justice or Mercy (a modern immersive adaptation of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito). We sat down to talk with her about the musical and linguistic challenges of Sylvia.
POP: Where are you from? How did you first get interested in opera or musical theatre?
Hana: Hello! Konichiwa! I was born in NY, but I grew up in Japan. I studied voice at Kyoto City University of Arts.
As a kid, I did ballet and I probably danced almost everyday! Also my parents are musicians as well -- a jazz singer and jazz pianist! I guess it is not a surprise that I love music and dancing!!
The opera experience that first got me interested (and my most impressive experience) was when I went to Vienna to see the Vienna State Opera. I still remember that moment. It was just amazing! That experience was my motivation to do singing opera now.
POP: What are your dream roles?
Hana: "Manon" in Manon by Massenet and in Manon Lescaut by Puccini. I love this character: beautiful, quite a human, young, and egoistic.
POP: What's a role you would never sing that you would like to sing?
Hana: Baron Scarpia in Tosca! I would like to sing bad guy at least once in my life!
POP: What do you think is the best way to make opera relevant to the next generation?
Hana: Opera is needs to be engaged like all arts! You read a book, you go to a museum, go to an orchestra concert. To love opera you see an opera LIVE! Letting people see opera live is what gives people opera fever, in my opinion.
POP: Who is your character and how do you see them?
Hana: Servilia / Sylvia is good girl. Her personality is feminine and pure. She can believe in true love and can love her family, friends and partner.
POP: What do you love about this interpretation of Tito? What’s challenging?
Hana: I love this interpretation! This modern interpretation can make people feel familiar with these roles. And because the audience and singer will be very close, we can feel Tito's drama more closely.
My challenge is how can I sing purely and simply. Silvilia's aria is so beautiful but also difficult. Her Melody line is so simple and in such a high register, but accompaniment is so simple. That means music cannot help my singing, so that demands an expression which is just my singing line and emotion.
English dialogue is challenging too because I am not native English speaker, but I love to practice and I am happy to do that!
POP: What’s your favorite moment in the opera?
Hana: Love Duet with Annio/Anna. Just beautiful!!
POP: What do you think will be special about doing this as a promenade adaptation?
Hana: I think audience can feel singers energy because they are so close! This is such a fun situation for both of us!!
POP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Hana: Please come to see us!
POP: Most importantly... which will you vote for: Justice or Mercy?
Hana: Mercy! I hope everyone wants to happy endings...or maybe not...?