May 2019

Murasaki’s Moon

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

World Premiere

Murasaki’s Moon

Music by Michi Wiancko
Libretto by Deborah Brevoort

presented in the

Astor Chinese Garden Court
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

The sequestered life of a lady-in-waiting feels suffocating to the imaginative yet introspective Lady Murasaki. To escape the boundaries of the palace, she begins to write an epic tale of love and freedom. Murasaki’s life in the palace helps to shape the world of her novel, The Tale of Genji, which catapults her to fame, yet creates tension within the palace. She struggles to find a balance between the relationships with those around her, the characters she creates, and the far-reaching impact of her writing. 

Presented in conjunction with the Met’s exhibition The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated, on view March 5-June 16, 2019. Lady Murasaki was the granddaughter of a writer and daughter of a scholar, who struggled to find her place at the Imperial Court in 11th century Japan. She gained recognition at court for her poetry and story-telling, and eventually penned the world’s first novel: The Tale of GenjiMurasaki’s Moon is an opera for audiences of all ages, inspired by the life and work of Lady Murasaki.

Produced by On Site Opera and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Commissioned by On Site Opera, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and American Lyric Theater


Friday, May 17 at 4:00pm & 6:30pm
Saturday, May 18 at 2:00pm & 6:00pm
Sunday, May 19 at 11:00am & 3:00pm

General admission – $75
Bring the Kids for $1 (ages 6–16)
All tickets include same-day Museum admission.

Running time: Approximately 1 hour
Language: English

Japanese supertitle translation by Shinko Kagaya

Photo: Kristen Choi as Lady Murasaki in the Astor Chinese Garden Court. Photo by Stephanie Berger.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA


Aizuri Quartet
Ariana Kim, violin
Miho Saegusa, violin
Ayane Kozasa, viola
Karen Ouzounian, cello

Yoko Reikano Kimura, koto
Satoshi Takeishi, percussion
Kaoru Watanabe, Japanese flutes/percussion/taiko


MetLiveArts, the groundbreaking live arts series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores contemporary performance through the lens of the Museum’s exhibitions and unparalleled gallery spaces with singular performances. MetLiveArts invites artists, performers, curators, and thought leaders to explore and collaborate within The Met, leading with new commissions, world premieres, and site-specific durational performances that have been named some of the most “memorable” and “best of” performances in New York City by the New York Times, New Yorker, and Broadway World. Visit

Limor Tomer, General Manager, MetLiveArts
Erin Flannery, Associate General Manager, Artistic Planning and Administration, MetLiveArts
Ariana Baurley, Production Coordinator, MetLiveArts
Elysia Dawn, Program Associate, MetLiveArts
Gina Ferrara, Program Associate, MetLiveArts
Andrea Theodore, Production Manager, Education

American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson to build a new body of operatic repertoire by nurturing composers and librettists, providing an incubator for their collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT’s focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire. Works by ALT alumni have been produced by diverse companies across the country, including Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fort Worth Opera, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Saratoga, Prototype Festival, and The Industry LA. In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member – a testament to ALT’s service to the field. For more information about the Composer Librettist Development Program, Resident Artists, works by CLDP alumni, and upcoming public events at ALT, please visit

Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director
David Rubeo, Executive Director
Cori Ellison, Dramaturg


The commissioning of Michi Wiancko for Murasaki’s Moon received funding from OPERA America’s Female Composers Grant program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.




This production is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Murasaki’s Moon is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Additional production support generously provided by
Kara Unterberg
Jacqui and Grant Smith

Your contribution today helps On Site Opera turn all of New York City into an opera house!

  • On Site Opera continues to be one of New York’s most ingenious small companies, producing performances in spaces that have a resonance with the works being performed.

    New York Classical Review
  • Kristen Choi was a powerful Murasaki, with a big, expressive mezzo and a commanding presence, and she ably switched characters to become Genji’s different conquests. Tenor Martin Bakari made an amusingly arrogant Genji… Director Eric Einhorn made a virtue of simplicity: The singers used the whole courtyard space, often venturing behind the audience that flanked the narrow runway at the center.

    The Wall Street Journal
  • With trenchant, emotionally penetrating music and glorious singing, it has as much to say about our modern world as about Japan’s Heian period a thousand years ago…This was, by opera standards, a tiny production. That makes especially impressive Eric Einhorn’s smooth and fully imagined staging and the flawless synchrony of the singers and the musicians conducted by Geoffrey McDonald.

  • The singers moved and swirled in their finery, arching over a nimble score that combined the voices of eastern and western instruments to create minimal pulse, kinetic rhythms and always, strong support for the voices of the two leads…an operatic experience unmatched anywhere else in the city.

  • At a time when opera companies are struggling to survive, it is thrilling to watch On Site Opera thrive. In spite of high ticket prices, their productions are always sold out. It would appear that the originality of their concept and the deftness of their execution would account for their success. Snagging a ticket almost guarantees a rare and unusual experience.

    Voce di Meche
  • On Site Opera productions always blend music and location to create fascinating and often challenging experiences. Murasaki’s Moon was exceptional, in that it afforded the opportunity for total immersion in the world of Lady Murasaki and her masterpiece, combining the new with the timeless.

    Seen And Heard International
  • An enchanting and accessible introduction to this ancient work and its author, with an uplifting feminist slant.

    Classical Voice North America

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