Internationally acclaimed lyric soprano Christine Komatsu will perform a one night-only recital Aug. 19 in San José as part of a benefit for the Women’s Club of Costa Rica.
Komatsu, who is the wife of Chosei Komatsu, director of the National Symphony, will perform songs by French, Japanese, Russian and U.S. composers.
“It’s kind of a trip around the world with some of my favorite art songs,” she said.
This will be the first time the U.S. soprano has sung in Costa Rica, but it’s not the first musical performance she’s helped organize.
She was the producer and costume designer for “Madama Butterfly,” performed nine times in 2005 by the National Opera Company to sold-out audiences at the National
Theater (TT, July 29, 2005).
Komatsu said she has been an opera fan since she was in high school, which “wasn’t cool” at the time, but from the moment she was introduced to it she knew that was the career she wanted to pursue. The moment of realization came when one day her music teacher played Puccini arias by U.S. opera singer Eileen Farrell.
“I had never listened to anything so beautiful,” she recalled.
Now Komatsu has trouble counting all the countries she’s performed in, but they include Japan, Russia, Canada and various European countries. Orchestras she has worked with include the Moscow Radio Symphony, Japan Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony.
She was also a professor of voice at the State University of New York at Fredonia in the United States from 1982 to 1992, and, among other teaching credits, led lecture recitals at universities in Russia and Japan.
She said seeing the world comes with the territory of being an opera singer.
“These days, this kind of career is an international one,” she said.
Komatsu will be accompanied by 16-year-old Costa Rican pianist Daniela Rodó, who has been studying piano for the past nine years at the National University (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José. Rodó has played concerts and recitals in all of the country’s major theaters, as well as at U.S. venues including Weill Recital Hall in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
The money raised by the event will be used by the Women’s Club to pay for high school scholarships for Costa Rican students.
Their scholarship program, overseen by the Women’s Club Social Service Committee, marks its 30th anniversary this year (see separate story).
“We thought it was especially appropriate to have a teenager from the country play a part in this,” Komatsu said.
Komatsu has also donated 50 copies of one of her compilation CDs featuring a number of songs that will be performed at the benefit. Among the songs on the CD that will be performed at the recital are “Widmung” by German composer Robert Schumann; “Automne” by French composer Gabriel Fauré; and “Hamabe no Uta” by Japanese composer Tamezo Narita.
The recital is set for Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. in the Eugene O’Neill Theater, at the headquarters of the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center in the eastern San José neighborhood of Barrio Dent.
The price of admission is ¢8,000 (about $15). Tickets can be purchased at Librería Internacional stores in Santa Ana, southwest of San José, and Plaza Cemaco in the southeastern Zapote district; or by calling 249-1208 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.