【Composition Department】MITSUKO, Japanese Language Opera Production Competition 2020


Updates for MITSUKO, Japanese Language Opera Production Competition 2020

【Composition Department】

coming soon

MITSUKO, Japanese Language Opera Production Competition 2020

【Composition Department】

The entrants for the competition will need to read the following guidelines carefully and enter unpublished work.

Results for MITSUKO Composition Competition 2019:


Dear composers;

I thank all participants for your entries. There were many notable pieces and I have earnestly listened to them. As the result, all of them did not pass the selection process to my regrets. The reason is all arias were not as touching as to give me goosebumps.

Sawakami Opera Foundation is preparing for the second call for the best Japanese language opera MITSUKO. We will redo the libretto production so the composers can increase their creativity image.
It means;
1.Reflecting on the past failure of the librettos being story-telling like and too long, new librettos will be play like based on three acts opera and rhyming poem sentences.
2.Aiming for Italian opera, Puccini and Verdi among other things. Poetic librettos to realize beautiful music melody for all composers are necessary.

We plan to start accepting composition entries based on new librettos in the middle of June this year. For all composers who believe you are the one, please compose wonderful music.

Atsuto Sawakami
President, Sawakami Opera Foundation
Chairman, MITSUKO Project Committee

Atsuto Sawakami
MITSUKO Project Committee

Announcement of Round 1 Results – MITSUKO Composition Competition 2019

Entries go through to the next stage: None

No entries will go through to the next stage of MITSUKO Competition 2019.
It will be carried over to the 2nd MITSUKO Competition coming out soon.
Details of entries and guidelines will be announced as soon as they are available.

We have received 53 entries (32 domestic and 21 international from 15 countries).
Judging Process:
Round 1-1: submission screening from 1 to 22 November 2019
Round 1-2 : 2nd stage selection on 26 November 2019
Round 1-3: video (piano and singing) selection for those passed through R1-2

Official Competition Jury Members:
Chair Hirofumi Yoshida, Artistic Director/Bologna Philharmonic Orchestra and Artistic Director/Sawakami Opera Foundation
Atsuto Sawakami, President/Sawakami Opera Foundation, Chair/MITSUKO Project Committee
Koichi Ito, Director/Sawakami Opera Foundation, University Professor, Philosopher
Giorgio Zagnoni, President/Bologna Philharmonic Orchestra
Marzio Giossi, Opera singer and instructor

Message from the Chair
One of my missions is to produce an opera that will be internationally acknowledged and loved by people even hundreds of years after its birth. It was a challenging decision but we decided to go back to square one of the project and will start MITSUKO project round two.
In the next round, we plan to allow both librettist and composers to be more creative and flexible to produce the work.
Once again my deepest thanks to entrants in the MITSUKO Competition 2019.

Atsuto Sawakami
MITSUKO Project Committee

Entry Guidelines(1st Stage of Selection)

MITSUKO, Japanese Language Opera

Choose one (1) MITSUKO libretto of your choice out of 4 librettos passed the 1st stage of libretto department competition (finalists) and select any scenes to compose.

Each entrant must enter two (2) songs; one (1) must be an aria and the other one (1) may be either an aria, duet or chorus ensemble piece

Communication with librettist is not available at this stage

Entry should include;

Full score and sound source

Eligibility Requirement for Entry

Anyone may enter regardless of nationality, gender, age or academic background

Entry Fee


Competition Schedule

Preliminary Entry Deadline – 17:00 JST, Tuesday, October 8, 2019
1st Stage Entry Deadline – Must be received by us before Thursday, October 31, 2019
Announcement of 1st Stage Results – November 2019
2nd Stage Entry – to be announced

Please send entries to;
MITSUKO Project Committee
The Sawakami Opera Foundation
29-1 Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102-0082 Japan

* Please mark “MITSUKO score included” on the envelope when sending materials by post
* PDF may be sent to mitsukoproject@sawakami-opera.org


The appointed competition jury shall, after impartial deliberation, select up to five (5) composition works during the first stage of the competition and gives cash award of 200,000 to each composer as copyrights transfer fee.
Grand Prize (cash award of 10,000,000) will be awarded to one winner selected through the second stage of the competition. (copyrights transfer fee inclusive of cash award)
※All taxes are inclusive of cash award

The judges reserve the right to limit the number of awards in each category or not to select Grand Prize if, in their professional opinion, there are insufficient entries deserving of recognition and no prize will be awarded.

  • 作品が複数名による共同作業の場合、台本執筆者全員の氏名を記載してください。
  • 応募する台本の権利を自らが有している作品に限ります。
  • 応募者は、本募集要項に同意の上、日本語オペラコンペティションに参加するものとします。
  • 台本は公益財団法人さわかみペラ芸術振興財団に権利を譲渡できる作品に限ります。
  • 作品は未発表のオリジナル作品に限ります。
  • 応募作品は1人(またはグループ)1作品に限ります。
  • 作品提出後、台本選考が終了するまでは台本の変更、修正をすることはできません。
  • 提出された作品の返却はいたしません。
  • 選考に関するお問い合わせには一切応じません。
  • 募集で取得した個人情報は、本目的以外には利用いたしません。

We are now ready to globally start inviting musical composition based on selected libretto for Japanese language opera production we have kept in our mind for a long time.

The opera MITSUKO is inspired by half of the life story of the wife to Count Heinrich von Coudenhove-Kalergi and illustrates the passion of the first Japanese woman married to a non-Japanese family related to Europe’s one of the most distinguished royal family, the House of Hapsburg at the time.
She was tossed about by the differences and reconciliation of Western and Eastern culture, and raised children including the second son, Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi later became the founder of Pan European Union.

Our mission is to introduce a distinguished opera like Carmen that appeals to international audiences.
It will be a great pleasure if Japanese opera singers proudly present MITSUKO and the opera is performed in theaters around the world.

Atsuto Sawakami
Japanese Language Opera MITSUKO Project Executive Committee
Sawakami Opera Foundation

There is a serendipitous encounter of talented composer and librettist behind every creation of the opera loved by people all over the world. What if E. Schikaneder did not consign Mozart to compose? What if G. Verdi did not befriend with F. Piave? What if G. Puccini failed to meet the best partners, L. Illica and G. Giaccosa? Some of the masterwork opera may not have existed today.

Many of the Japanese language operas were created after the World War II in Japan. The number of skilled and qualified opera composers and librettists had been unfortunately scarce compared to countries with some hundred years of opera tradition and history like Italy and Germany.

This time, we focus on the traditional composing process that is for the composer and librettist to cooperate but at the same time improve through rivalry.

Criterion for selection in the first round:
Ability to compose excellent melody line compatible to Japanese lyrics
Ability to create attractive and unforgettable music making audience hum on the way home after the performance.
Ability to produce the most beautiful music that touches people’s heart and resonates beautifully with Japanese language.

Even only with five vowels, ‘a,’ ‘I,’ ‘u,’ ‘e,’ and ‘o’ in Japanese, pronouncing vowels using different intonation, speed, tone and breath enables to express various dramaturgy.
Composers shall carefully study the libretto and its vocal recording to develop a feeling for language and understand the nuance distinct in Japanese.
* Cooperation with the librettist is not necessary in this stage

Criterion for selection in the second round:
Learning from the great composers over hundreds of years, composers will need to work closely with and give their artistic inspiration to the librettists of their choice to compose epoch making opera that will be loved by people around the world for years to come.
Historically, people mainly corresponded each other by postal mails. Today, we can immediately exchange ideas utilizing information technology such as PC and other devices even with people on the other side of the world.
We expect you to effectively utilize modern technology.

Composers with intense artistic inspiration and talents shall be particular about every single word and phrase, throw his musical vision and idea through consistent concept, background and philosophy of the work at the librettist.
Librettist shall vigorously exchange views with the composer to the artistic extreme while accepting his/her vision and preference to fully cooperate with the composer.
Gifted composers with settled musical conviction such as G. Verdi, G. Puccini and Richard Strauss pressed librettists for their patience and sacrifice is a well-known fact in the history.

The important point is the composer continues to challenge artistically the librettists without a compromise in this Japanese language opera production competition. We will support such sincerity and persistance of the composers. Librettists are requested to fully cooperate with the composers.
We hope to find a Japanese language opera continues to be performed in the theaters around the world.

Japanese Language Opera ‘MITSUKO’ Project Committee
Sawakamii Opera Foundation

Please fill our all required field before submitting.

Sawakami Opera Foundation


  1. STEP1

[Preliminary Entry]

Preliminary entry is required to enter the Composition Department of the Competition

Entry deadline for the 1st stage is 5pm JST, October 8, 2019

Selection of Libretto Finalists
Four (4) librettos are selected as libretto finalists.

  1. STEP2


Entry should include; full score and sound source

2nd Stage Entry Deadline
Submit the score and sound source of two (2) songs by October 31, 2019.

【Send Entries to】

MITSUKO Project Committee
The Sawakami Opera Foundation 29-1 Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0082 Japan

* Please mark “MITSUKO score included” on the envelope when sending materials by post
* PDF may be sent to below address; mitsukoproject@sawakami-opera.org

  1. STEP3

[1st Stage of Selection – Composition]

Scheduled November 2019
The appointed competition jury selects up to five (5) composer finalists to move on to the 2nd Stage of Selection.

Composer finalists will start composing to complete the opera, full score including already submitted two (2) songs from two (2) scenes, with songs from around December 2019

4 MITSUKO Librettos

Choose 1 MITSUKO libretto of your choice out of 4 and select scenes according to guidelines.
*Entrants must stick to the libretto of his/her original choice and is not allowed to change after the entry

1. Hiroaki Hirai
2. Naoyuki Sumi
3. Yuka Aihara
4. Yoritsuna Sasaki

About the Competition

About MITSUKO profect

1. Hiroaki Hirai

2. Naoyuki Sumi

3. Yuka Aihara

4. Yoritsuna Sasaki