Mihoko Kinoshita (Cio-Cio San)
Soprano Mihoko Kinoshita is renowned for her passion and rich voice. She is regarded as one of the greatest Cio- Cio Sans because of her extraordinary acting abilities. Mihoko was born in Kagoshima, Japan where she earned her Bachelor and Masters Degree at the Musashino Academy of Music. In 2001, she travelled to Italy on a Rotary International Friendship Scholarship, Recruit Scholarship, and Rome Music Foundation Scholarship to continue her music studies.
In 2002, Mihoko debuted in Tokyo at the Bunka Kaikan as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and as Mimi in La Bohème. She later portrayed Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera at the Nikikai Opera Theater, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro at the New National Theatre, and as Leonora in Il Trovatore with the Verdi project in Saitama. She has performed the title role of Cio-Cio San at the Santa Margherita Opera Festival (2002), Belgrade Opera (2003), Sofia National Opera (2004), Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (2004), Kanagawa Philharmonic (2004), Nikikai Opera Theater (2006), and for the Sofia Summer Festival in Bulgaria (2006). In 2008, she performed the title role in Madama Butterfly for the Baltimore Opera, Midland Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theater, and she was invited to perform at the Puccini 150th Anniversary Gala Concert with the Di Capo Opera at Lincoln Center. She has also performed in recital at the Medoc Music Festival, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Spokane Symphony. She sang with the Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, Verdi’s Requiem with the Kanagawa Philharmonic, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony soprano solo on more than 30 stages throughout the world. Mihoko has won many prestigious awards including first prize at the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition, Santa Margherita International Opera Competition, and the Bevagna International Opera Competition. In 2006, she was honored with the New Nippon Steel’s “Fresh Artist Award” and in 2007 received Japan’s highest honor, the “Idemitsu Music Award.” In 2008, Mihoko returned to Japan to sing Britten’s War Requiem, Violetta in La Traviata, and later debuted in London at Wigmore Hall at the Sir Georg Solti Anniversary Concert. Last season, Mihoko performed in the New Year Opera Palace gala at the New National Theatre in Tokyo. This year, she will perform as Michaela in Carmen, Liu in Turandot, and will make her Canadian debut as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly in Vancouver.