Takako Yanagida-Lordly has captivated Canadian and Japanese audiences with her beautiful voice and extraordinary musicality. A versatile and dynamic performer with exceptional onstage charisma, she possesses a vocal range equally comfortable with the demanding coloratura roles of Donizetti and Mozart to the mezzo roles of Johan and Richard Strauss. She has the dramatic skills and presence required for the opera stage as well as the full command of the intimate recital settings.
Born in Nagasaki, Takako studied at the Kunitachi College Of Music, one of Japan’s premiere schools of music, followed by a postgraduate program at the Japanese National Institute for Opera. An Overseas Program For Artists fellowship from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture enabled Takako to study in Vienna for a year with the famed Mozartean tenor Kammersänger Anton Dermota and his wife Prof. Hilda Dermota.
Gold Medallist in the prestigious Kansai Japan-Italy Concorso, her professional debut was as Gerhilde in the Nikikai Opera Company’s production of Wagner’s Walküre under Hiroshi Wakasugi. Takako has performed frequently throughout Japan and Korea, on Japanese national radio, and appeared in operas including, by special invitation, Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segretto on the occasion of the Kunitachi College of Music’s 60th Anniversary Festival. Stage direction was by Prof. Dr. Michael Hampe. Takako appeared as Venus in the Nikikai Opera production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser under Tadaaki Otaka.
She was featured in the NHK Promising Artist series, only the second soprano to be so honoured in series 12 year history. She is a perennial favourite as soloist for popular works such as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra under Kazuyoshi Akiyama, the New Japan Philharmonic under Takashi Asahina, and other prominent orchestras.
Her North American debut recital at Walter Hall won her accolades from a highly appreciative audience. Since then, Takako has been a popular performer on the concert stage, performing throughout Ontario.
Takako was personally chosen by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer for the role of Luna in his opera Hermes Trismegistos. An overwhelming success, the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote, "[she] was entirely magical." Coincidentally, Takako was invited by R. Murray Schafer’s Japanese contemporary, Ikuma Dan, to sing the lead role of Amaterasu (the sun goddess) in the premiere of his opera Susano-o in Japan. The special performances celebrating the composers 50 years in the public ‘ear’ were the sensation of the Japanese opera season. The opera was conducted by the composer, with sets and direction by Naoli Kawaguchi, choreography by Takashi Nishida and costumes by fashion designer Yoji Yamamoto.
In Japan, Takako charmed Tokyo audiences as Cherubino in Mozart’s Il nozze di Figaro. The original NASA production was such a success that she was called back for a return engagement. The Yomiuri newspaper wrote, "her Cherubino was ideal!" Takako was Orlofsky in a gala production of Die Fledermaus for the opening of Biwako Hall, and on New Year’s Eve 1999, Takako ushered in the new Millennium as Orlofsky in a special joint production of Die Fledermaus with the Vienna Volksoper at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Recently she was soloist in a concert production of Berg’s Lulu with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at Suntory Hall.
Since 1994 Takako has presented a biannual solo recital for Kobe’s Ryohei Koiso Museum of Art. Takako was the first ever to perform in the recital at the museum. Takako in Osaka IV continues this successful series.
The city of Sasebo, Takako’s hometown, had asked composer Ikuma Dan to set to music a poem by Seiji Takizawa commemorating the Kujukushima islands, Kujukushima Mittsu no Uta. Sadly, Mr. Dan passed away before he could start. Takako was honoured to be asked to complete the commission in his stead. She performed the piece in Sasebo on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Kujukushima National Park.
The Marriage of Figaro
The Alchemical Theatre of Hermes Trismegistos
Glenn Gould Studio
Nikikai Opera 50th Anniversary Performance
With Ikuma Dan
with the Wiener Volksoper