Sara Kobayashi (Lyric Coloratura Soprano)
Sara Kobayashi is a graduate of the Faculty of Music at Tokyo University of the Arts, where she also completed her postgraduate degree. Born in Tokyo, she moved to Vienna in March 2010, to hone her performance skills further. She was a recipient of a scholarship from the Nomura Foundation in 2010, and in 2011 she participated in the Agency for Cultural Affairs Overseas Residence Program for Emerging Artists. Her teachers have included Ayako Nakamura, Taikai Takahashi, Tomoko Shimazaki, Adele Haas and Walter Moore. She is a member of the Japan Vocalists Forum.
She first learned piano and classical ballet at age 5, and at 10 she began special auditing at Tamasaburo Bando’s theatre academy, studying classical Japanese dance. Her attraction to the stage led her at 17 to begin her study of voice in earnest.
Following upon her 2006 debut in a Michiyoshi Inoue Noborisaka Concert, she has been featured as a soloist in the Suntory Hall Coming-of-Age Day Concert, the Kazushi Ono Kokoro Fureai Concert, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Haydn’s The Creation, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Faure’s Requiem, among others. She has performed with professional orchestras that include NHK Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Ensemble Kanagawa.
Her opera roles have included Liù in Turandot, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Pamina in Magic Flute, Susanna in Marriage of Figaro, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Violetta in La Traviata and the Geisha in Iris. Her performance as Liù in Turandot with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanagawa under the baton of Michiyoshi Inoue was broadcast on Nippon Television Network in July 2009. She participated in Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto for two years running, in 2009 and 2010, playing the role of Gretel in the Opera for Young People production of Hansel and Gretel. She also played the same role with the Nippon Yomiuri Symphony at the Nissei Theater in 2009. In July of 2011, she sang Adele in Die Fledermaus, as conducted by Yutaka Sado at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center. The production featured members of the Vienna Philharmonic, and veteran singers like countertenor Jochen Kowalski, and it was a great success.
She commenced her international career in February 2012, debuting at the National Theatre in Sofia as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. In March she appeared at the same theatre as Adina in L’eslir d’amore, and she won second prize at the Oscar Straus Singing Competition in June. Subsequently she sang the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra at the Musikverein in Vienna, and in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in July with the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra (OSPA) in Brazil.
In solo recitals since 2007, she has performed a large number of Japanese art songs, including the premieres of new works such as the opera Sumidagawa and the symphony of psalms The Tale of Genji by Akira Senju and Takashi Matsumoto, and the operas Manyo-syu/Futakami Banka and Manyo-syu/Asuka Kaze by Akira Senju and Madoka Mayuzumi. She has devoted herself wholeheartedly not only to the performance of new Japanese art songs, but to poetry recitation as well, and she is a member of the modern poetry performance group Voice Space.
She has garnered attention for her participation in Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, Tokyo’s La Folle Journée Music Festival, movie soundtracks, a Mastercard commercial, and various television appearances. In July 2010, she participated in a master class in Australia given by Mirella Freni and pianist Wolfram Rieger, and in May 2011 she attended one taught by baritone Tom Krause and soprano Teresa Berganza.