Two concerts are being staged in Rome on 4 and 6 April to raise funds for the Japanese Red Cross to help Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 11 March.
In the aftermath of the disaster, Fujiko Hirai, a Japanese soprano living in Rome, set about organising two benefit concerts to be held in the city's Anglican All Saint's Church on Via del Babuino. Madama Butterfly, Puccini's classic opera about a heartbroken Japanese woman, takes place on 4 April at 20.30, with Hirai playing the role of Cio-Cio-San.
On 6 April at 20.30 there will be a gala concert by predominantly Japanese singers and musicians who will treat the audience to what is bound to be a poignant rendition of the old Japanese song "Furusato", meaning "homeland".
Born in the Japanese city of Saba, Hirai has been living in Italy since 1998. Now performing between Rome and Tokyo, the soprano made her Italian debut in the Teatro di Roma's 2007 production of Tosca.
Spectators are asked to give generously with a minimum suggested donation of