Miwako Handa, soprano



Miwako Handa graduated from Toho Gakuen College and completed the graduate course of that college.

She won the highest prize and the Shizuko Kawasaki Prize when she completed a course at Nikikai Opera Studio. She also won First Prize and the Fukunaga Prize at the 4th Fujisawa Opera Competition. Handa made her opera debut performing Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) with Nikikai. She received high praise for roles including Donna Rosita in Il Linguaggio Dei Fiori and Nanetta in Falstaff at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, and Lidoine in Dialogue des Carmélites. She also performed the difficult role of Hanako in Toshio Hosokawa’s opera Hanjo (from the original drama written by Yukio Mishima, English translation by Donald Keene) in the opera’s Japan premiere at the Suntory Music Foundation 40th anniversary Summer Festival in 2009.

Her interpretation was lauded by the composer as the closest to his image of Hanako.
Following three successful performances in Tokyo, she was invited to the MITO Festival Italy to perform the same role in Turin and Milan, and was highly praised. In 2012 Handa also performed in the new production of the opera with Seinen-dan directed by Oriza Hirata, receiving high critical acclaim once again.

In 2015, Handa performed the role of Regan in Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear, superbly expressing the role’s interior depth. In October 2016, she performed the title role of the same composer’s opera Matsukaze, produced by Sasha Waltz, in the opera’s Asian premiere.

In 2012, Handa released her first album, Khôra-Niemandslied, which was chosen by music magazines as “most recommended CD.” As a concert soloist, she was selected to perform in Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream” with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony conducted by Gary Bertini. She went on to perform in numerous concerts with renowned conductors inside and outside Japan, including Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” (Bertini/Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony), Mozart’s Mass in C minor (Blomstedt/NHK Symphony), Mozart’s Requiem (Honeck/Yomiuri Nippon Symphony), Berg’s “Lulu Suite” (Calignani/Yomiuri Nippon Symphony), and again in Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (Märkl/NHK Symphony). Handa also appeared in “Symphony of a Thousand” in the regular concert of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra announcing the inauguration of Eliahu Inbal as principal conductor. She again appeared in regular concerts of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony conducted by Inbal in 2009, in performances of Ravel’s “Shéhérazade” and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. In 2014, Handa performed in New York with the New York-based orchestra group Perspectives Ensemble on their invitation, receiving high praise. In 2015, she gave an impassioned performance of Ligeti’s “Mysteries of the Macabre” with the Kanagawa Philharmonic conducted by Kentaro Kawase.

Handa has carried out multi-faceted activities including music production for the film Nodame Cantabile and for Gekidan Shinkansen theatre company, as well as collaboration in “Rakugo and Songs.” In 2014, she took part as a vocalist in Return to the Inner Voice, an album by leading Japanese progressive band KENSO, and appeared in the band’s 40th anniversary live show at Club Citta’. Handa continues to expand her range of possibilities.

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