Japanese born and educated, lyric soprano Keiko Kagawa-Hamilton's operatic roles include a triumphant, breathtaking, and critically acclaimed performances as Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) in "Madama Butterfly" with North Bay Opera, Montana's Rimrock Opera, Oregon's Rogue Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera and Golden West Opera company.
Other past roles include Violetta in "La Traviatta, Micaela in "Carmen, Nedda in "Il Pagliacci, "Fiordiligi, in "Così fan tutte, Suor Angelica in "Suor Angelica," Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni," " the First Lady in "The Magic Flute," the Mother in "Hansel and Gretel," Suor Genovieffa in "Suor Angelica" and the First Lady in "Christopher Sly." In addition to the opera companies already listed, Keiko has also performed with Golden Gate Opera, City Summer Opera (San Francisco), Oakland Lyric Opera Company, Goat Hall Productions (San Francisco), Marin Opera Company, Cal State Hayward Summer Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
She has also made a number of appearances as the Soprano Lead in Handel's Messiah. Most notable among those are two appearances in the San Francisco Conservatory's famed, annual "Sing-It-Yourself Messiah," held at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and its Marin counterpart held at the Marin Veteran's Auditorium. Keiko also gives occasional recitals, as well as participating in an annual vocal concert in Japan.
Keiko is also a co-founder of "Sopianos" who recently debuted at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts and Palo Alto's Arts and Cultural Center. Upcoming appearances include:
- Conducting Choral Cosmo's Annual Concert on Saturday March 9th, 2002 - Appearing as Liu in "Turandot" with San Francisco's Golden West Opera in May of 2002
Musical theater and dance work includes performances with the Oakland Lyric Opera, San Francisco City Light Performing Arts Company and Infinite Reflections Dance Company.
Keiko's recorded appearances include several works of Praise Songs and Contemporary Christian Music made in Japan. In the U.S. Keiko can be heard on recordings by Noel McFarlane and the group "Hikari." Keiko is also the former band leader, keyboardist and lead singer of "Lovely Wind," a Tokyo based Gospel Jazz Trio.
Keiko's on-air television work includes singing performances on "PTL Club" in Japan and on "Morning Sunrise" on KRON in San Francisco. Keiko is also the former on-the-air hostess for the "Miemasuka Ai" program on Fuji TV, KTSF Channel 26 in San Francisco. Behind the scenes television work includes professional make-up work for shows on KQED ("Yan Can Cook"), KTVU ("Mornings on 2"), KRON and corporate clients such as Pacific Bell, Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard.
Keiko also teaches voice and piano and serves as the conductor for "Choral Cosmo," a Japanese choral group based in Silicon Valley.
Keiko Kagawa-Hamilton holds the degree of Master of Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance and a Teaching Credential in Music Education are from Tokyo's Kunitachi College of Music - Japan's top private music college.
Here is Diplomatic Journal's short interview with Maestra Keiko Kagawa:
DJ: Maestra Kagawa, thank you for doing this interview.
KK: My Pleasure!
DJ: Please tell our readers what made you interested in Opera and how everthing started for you?
KK: The drama. I believe that the drama should belong on the stage instead of day-to-day life. I enjoy unleashing my feelings and emotions while I perform opera.
DJ: In your view, how important the role of Musical Theater is in the promotion of cross-culture or cultural diplomacy? Do you think musical productions, could positively influance understanding and dialogue among nations?
KK: Music is an international language that we can all understand regardless of our race. I believe that music has a lot of power to move people's hearts and minds.
DJ: You hava an extensive experiance in veriaty of Operas, Madam Buttelfly for specific, how do you see the reaction of people and audiance, is opera/classical music getting more popular? Some might say, Opera and Classical music is getting more popular than ever due to certain factors such as an increas in production of law quality songs in Popular music, some might say technology is assisting law quality music,hence people find it more ammuzing to have real experiance in classical music venues etc, what is your take on that?
KK: As you know, opera has progressed past the image of just heavy-set singers. It has become prettier, well acted, and as always, very well sung. Regarding "Madama Butterfly", I still have a lot of trouble seeing other people's productions... I understand that people misunderstand subtle differences in misunderstanding of Japanese culture displayed on the stage. I am sure most of the audience can not tell the difference. Plus, Puccini's music is so moving!
DJ: Many artists and performers lend their talents for causes they believe in, is there any foundation/Charity or cause that you wish to promote and assist?
KK: I try to lend my time and effort to any foundation/charity that is well run by people with clear goals, honesty, principals, etc.
DJ: For our readers, who wish to follow you, please tell us about your upcoming projects and events.
KK: I will be conducting Choral Cosmo (Silicon Valley Japanese Chorus) on 3/3, singing soprano solo for Japanese Choral Foundation of Nothern California's Beethoven's Symphony No.9 "Ode to Joy" on 5/26, Silicon Valley Community Opera's "Cosi fan tutte/Tosca" performance on 5/28, Madama Butterfly in Osaka, Japan on 7/15 and a recital on 9/9...etc.
DJ: Maestra Keiko Kagawa-Hamilton, thank you for accepting our invitation and attending this interview:)
KK: Thank you so much for your invitation!
Here you can view Maestra Keiko Kagawa-Hamilton's performance of Puccini's 'Madama Buttelfly'
Directed by: Maestra Keiko Kagawa-Hamilton
Performed by Sopianos.com & Community Opera Choristers. Orchestral Accompanied by Mayumi Ashiya (Yamaha Electone), at Santa Clara University Performing Arts Recital Hall.
Our special thanks to Kenji Nakai without whome this was not possible.