Metropolitan Opera (Part 2)

New York, N.Y. Thanks to truthfully to the members of the orchestra, live broadcasting was accomplished, and and the tour succeeded.

Metropolitan Opera (MET) For the first time overseas performances, tickets are not sold at all, in order to make the performance in Osaka and Nagoya successful, we continue negotiating that we would like to broadcast the final performance of Tokyo live on TV.  Out of 14 of the labor unions , 13 permission were received by the day before the last performance in Tokyo which was the last chance to broadcast, but only the orchestra Union did not give the permission

Until then, I have only negotiated with officials of the orchestra  union, but as I cannot go any further, I asked them to give me the permission to  “talk to members of the orchestra directly”. The officials ,’ great men, finally gave up and finally told me that I could talk directly to the orchestra members.

First, Everyone had to vote

The day before the scheduled broadcast,  the performance was “La Boheme” ad had two intermissions . I had three times  to talk with members of the orchestra: before the performance, then two Intermissions.. First, five minutes before the performance, I stood in front of the whole orchestra and made a speech to everyone. “For the first time the great MET comes out to the world, and you chose my country, Japan..   We have been working very hard, struggling, to make this tour a success. but it is not going well. The seats are half full in Osaka, and in Nagoya it is pitiful. ,We are all sad.” Subsequently, “I’m totally rejected by the great representatives of your union, but I really want to vote for everyone, whether that is the true intention of yours or not” .

Then, they explained:  that there are rules for such rare voting for cases which was already voted.  First of all, after voting was done already, so,, vote again if It is OK to vote not only by the representatives but also by all the members”, and if the vote “all votes again” exceeds a majority, then we vote everyone again.   It is a two-step system 

Part 1 was over and the first such vote was held at the first break. Before the voting, I took a representative of  the union of the Japanese side and he gave a moving speech. He started crying saying “Osaka · Nagoya tickets are not half sold, please, please.” A member who started crying also appeared in the members, and it became a serious appearance. When they finished voting, it became 70 to 50, So,  it became possible to vote for the second time. There is only the last break for the chance to vote for the second time. The fate of the tour will be decided by the result of voting everyone here. Usually I am calm and fine but I was very pale, just sitting still in the chair of the stage sleeve, so  my dear friend, Luciano Pavarotti came and asked, Are you sick???I think He knew everything and gave me the big hug and squeeze me so tight. I hid my tears.

Well, the vote of the orchestra has ended at the second intermission., but the third act started but I did not know the result of the vote, I was quietly sitting. My heart was peaceful and happy. I was fully satisfied with  that I did all I could and whatever fruitful results I could accept in peace.. When the curtain call was over, the members who helped me ran to me and ran crying! I jumped over. More than 90 people agreed and the opposition was only about 10 people. The representatives  of the labor union also did not complain, and finally all fourteen union’s OK was secured and all 14 unions got together.!!

On the evening of the day, preparing with great momentum from 23 o’clock after the show, broadcasting of the next day “La traviata”. Soprano is Joan Sutherland, Tenor is  of Franco Corelli, This dream stars never realized before, an incredible gorgeous cast, once broadcast only once, the condition of the permission was that the broadcast is only once. However the MET kept as an archive all the time, so it seems that the film  still remains in the treasure volt. still. Thanks to this broadcast, Strangely, tickets started selling fast and It was a great success both in Osaka and Nagoya. Because it was really a great performance and broadcast.

Many memories with luminary members

There are various episodes on this tour. There are so many things that I cannot talkeverything!. Franco Correlli was retired already at that time. He was mentally unstable and sick, We could not tell until the start of the performance whether he would appear. But I went many times his home in  New York ,finally persuaded him to join the tour in Japan anyway. I just got involved.with him emortionally. Every time I think of this tour even to this day, I played for sending great appreciations and gratitude.  

We gathered famous top stars and in a luxury bus. still rare at the time, with large buses with gorgeous interior, big stars to Nikkou, and also for Kyoto sightseeing to my home residence Tatsumura’s mansion  The tour is a very good memory.

Originally published as Vol. 23 in Weekly Biz, April 21, 2018; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz



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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

View all posts by Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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