SANTA CRUZ - Mutsumi Hatano cuts a striking figure on stage. She is
tall, regal but not "theatrical." While she is not singing, she appears
withdrawn, eyes closed. When she sings, she makes contact with the
audience, draws listeners into the music.
Tonight, she sang a lengthy, extremely difficult contemporary work -
without score, with complete mastery of the material. The voice is broad
and solid, and yet flexible. Her phrasing is appealing, the diction
exemplary, tough demands of "new music" (singing against the ffff of
a kettle drum or "warbling" high notes) met without visible or audible
After the contemporary work, conductor Nicole Paiement asked Hatano to
sing the ancient folksong ("Mai Mai" - "Dance Dance") on which Michio
Mamiya's "Serenade" is based, and now the mezzo switched gears, and sang
simply, imbuing the song with the authenticity of the period and its
Hatano studied both in her native Japan and in London. She is now a
Tokyo resident, has a wide-ranging repertoire, from the middle ages to
Baroque, and recently sang Idamante in "Idomeneo." She has appeared as
Dido in Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," Musica and Silvia in Monteverdi's
"Orfeo," in various roles in works by Rameau, Cesti and Da Gagliano...
and Toru Takemitsu.
Hatano was just one "find" at the opening of the first Pacific Rim Music
Festival here, UC-Santa Cruz Music Department's Hi Kyung Kim organizing
a unique nine-day event involving artists and composers from Korea,
China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Cambodia, Germany, Italy and the US.
Santa Cruz is already home to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary
Music, and now here is "Pacific Rim" - contemporary with a twist.
Tonight's opening concert - "Hun Quiao (Bridge of Souls), Remembrance,
Reconciliation and Peace" - featured Kim's "At the Edge of the Ocean,"
Mamiya's "Serenade No. 3, Germ" (which Hatano also sang at its 2001
world premiere in Minnesota, with Yo-Yo Ma), Chen Yi's "Ning," and Andrew
Imbrie's "From Time to Time." Tomorrow, it's a joint concert by Speculum
Musicae and EarPort, with works by Karen Tanaka, Olly Wilson, Mario
Davidovsky, David Even Jones, Chan-Hae Lee, Kunsu Shim and Gerhard
Stabler. The Kronos Quartet will lead the celebration of Terry Riley's
70th birthday, on May 3.
At the closing concert, on May 7, Kent Nagano will conduct the Berkeley
Symphony, in works by Scelsi, Takemitsu and Nishimura, and in a "world
premiere preview" of "Manzanar" - the World War II "relocation camp" -
with text by Philip Kan Gotanda, and music by Jean-Pascal Beintus, David
Benoit and Naomi Sekiya. (The world premiere of the full version will
take place in Berkeley, on May 10.)
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