OPERA PLACES Luka Kawabata takes us to Vancouver, BC

by | May 24, 2024 | Artist of the Week, Featured, News

Nikkei-Canadian baritone, Luka Kawabata takes us to Vancouver, BC where he is performing the HAFU ハーフ Project, a live presentation of the digital series of the same name, presented by City Opera Vancouver, running May 25-26 (info and tickets here).

A recent graduate of the Vancouver Opera Yulanda M. Farris Emerging Artist Program, Luka has performed numerous roles with them including Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as Dmitri in The Music Shop, as Escamillo in Carmen: Up Close and Personal and as Bill Bobstay in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. Other recent credits include two company debuts as Schaunard in La Bohème  with Edmonton Opera and Escamillo in Carmen  with Saskatoon Opera, Tadeusz in the Canadian Premiere of Pasażerka, Owl in The Flight of the Hummingbird, and covering Mr XE in the co-production of Angel’s Bone with Sound the Alarm, re:Naissance Opera, Loose Tea Theatre, and John in Laura Kaminsky’s February with Opera on the Avalon. Luka was recently named as a member of the Producer Academy with the Beth Morrison Project.

This week we chatted with Luka about all things Vancouver, the best place to grab a coffee, a bite to eat, and the recommendation to never miss the beautiful sunset along the Seawall.

City where you’re working?

How long are you working on contract?
Two weeks of rehearsal, but I’ve been working on this project coming up on four years!

What’s the opera house like?
We’re producing in a multipurpose space that we’ve outfitted with all of the rigging and set to completely change the audience’s experience.

Where is the most peaceful place in the city?
Strathcona is a short walk, through one of the cutest Vancouver neighbourhoods, to Japantown and Chinatown – two of the best areas for food!

Best coffee or tea?
Propaganda Coffee!

Coolest bar or restaurant you’ve been to?
Como Taperia and Suyo.

An activity you have done that is unique to the area?
Bloedel Conservatory.

Is there something unexpected that happens locally that you discovered?
The drum circles at Third Beach on Tuesdays during the summer.

How did you find your accommodation?
I live here!

What’s the most important thing you think of when it comes to finding accommodation as a singer?
Proximity to a grocery store and a good kitchen!

Have you had a chance to explore some galleries or museums?
The Polygon Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology.








View this post on Instagram



















A post shared by The Polygon Gallery (@polygongallery)

Is there anything you recommend beyond what we’ve asked here?
Take a stroll around the Seawall and watch the sunset after a long day! This is basically my daily summer routine.



© Jeremy Reay
The HAFU ハーフ Project
©Estella Lum
The HAFU ハーフ Project

The HAFU HAFU ハーフ Project
City Opera Vancouver 

May 25 – 26


The HAFU ハーフ Project is an emotional journey of navigating identity through music, dialogue and media. Adapted from the existing digital series of the same name, this live presentation will be the first public performance in the next stages of the project.

Combining traditional and adapted song, while drawing on cultural touch points from Japanese, Swedish and Canadian culture, The HAFU ハーフ Project shares a semi-autobiographical story in the struggle with identity and seeking new meaning in community.

As a person growing up between cultures, what does it mean when you don’t engage with your identity for fear that you won’t be taken seriously?

This multimedia theatre performance takes the audience along a musical exploration in peeling back the layers of how identity manifests as a product of social circumstance.


Opera Canada depends on the generous contributions of its supporters to bring readers outstanding, in-depth coverage of opera in Canada and beyond.
Please consider subscribing or donating today.



No event found!