Special Talk: "Matsukaze in Noh and Opera" was held on the 10th of January

Special Talk: "Matsukaze in Noh and Opera" was held at the National Noh Theatre on the 10th of January.

Opera "Matsukaze" which will be staged from the 16th to the 18th of February at the Opera House of the New National Theatre, Tokyo is originally based on a Noh play of the same title.

KANZE Tetsunojo, Noh theatre actor talked about "Matsukaze" from the perspectives of Noh and Opera, HOSOKAWA Toshio, the composer of the Opera "Matsukaze", KAKIGI Nobuyuki, the translator of "Toshio Hosokawa -- Silence and Sound, Shadow and Light", and MIYAMOTO Keizo, professor of the Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of HOSEI University.

(MIYAMOTO Keizo) Noh may be said to be a theatre that makes visible the existence of an invisible, foreign world of gods, demons, ghosts, in a visible form. "The Bridgeway (hashi-gakari)" is a bridge connecting this world to the other world. In a Noh play, reality and dream, or the present and the past are very vague, which I think is the unique worldview of Noh.

【What is the charm of the Noh play "Matsukaze"? 】
(HOSOKAWA Toshio) "Matsukaze" is a woman who comes from the other side of "The Bridgeway" to meet a monk, and by singing, talking and dancing in front of the monk about her previous obsession, she is released from her obsession and goes back to the other side. I think we go to the theatre because there is something we like to be released from inside us. So when I found out about Matsukaze, I was fascinated and intrigued.

(KANZE Tetsunojo) I think that it is certain that "Matsu" of "Matsukaze" and "matsu", the Japanese word for 'waiting for someone', the two words with the same sound are used with various meanings in the play. When I played "Matsukaze" opposite my father, a critic wrote of the similarity between the structure of "Matsukaze" and Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot". It is true, especially in the first half, there is a motif of waiting for something, which is not coming. I think it is the strength of less realistic plays and music that the audience can project an image of someone that he/she is waiting for on top of what they see.

【Opera "Matsukaze" - Unique physicality】
(HOSOKAWA Toshio) Often opera singers pose with widely opened hands, but I wanted to make an opera that is not like so. Sacha Waltz who has choreographed the opera which is about to open in Japan has a great grasp of such things and guides the movement of the singer. Of course, as it is a dance piece, singers move around, but the movement is not stereotypical.

【Opera "Matsukaze" - About the Chorus】
(MIYAMOTO Keizo) There are chorus singers called "Jiutai" in Noh, sometimes taking on a personality or sometimes not having a personality, who is involved in the progress of the play as a very magical existence. How is the chorus portrayed in the opera "Matsukaze"?

(HOSOKAWA Toshio)At first, the chorus express the wind with a voice of breath. Matsu is a man called Yukihira, Kaze are women named Matsukaze and Murasame that cling to him. The chorus is also in the scene where male and female exchanges take place. The chorus is constantly in the final scene where only Matsukaze remains, where she becomes the sound of nature.

【Opera "Matsukaze" - highly acclaimed in Europe】
(KAKIGI Nobuyuki) This Opera "Matsukaze" is repeatedly showing in Berlin, where tickets are sold out very quickly every time. People in Europe seem to be very attracted to the place where something such as a tide pumping scene or a scene of frenzy is represented symbolically and is united with dance.

【Opera "Matsukaze" - harmony between yin and yang Matsukaze and Murasame 】
(HOSOKAWA Toshio) There is always Yin-yang in the principle of my composition. Light and shadow, male and female, the strong and weak, the high and low do not fight each other but finds harmony, then the musical universe is created. In case of Matsukaze and Murasame, I composed thinking that they represent of the light and shadow of a soul of a woman. Although it looks like there are two women, in fact, it is meant to be two sides to a woman who are singing a different song.

【Things that are heard, and things that cannot be heard】
At a Noh play, when the drum beats, there is usually an impact on the previous action. The longer the interval before the beat, the greater the sound coming out. Listening to the sound and to imagine a world that you cannot hear is the right attitude towards listening, the pure pleasure of enjoying arts. In terms of music, death is silence, so "death" is always in the background.
In the world of contemporary opera, composers are not really cherished. It is always the conductor, the director and the singer that are important. For most operas, the composers are dead anyway. I like to work quietly and peacefully, and write good music. And when the music meets wonderful conductors, directors, singers, it gains power that moves the world. Such is the splendour of opera, so please come and enjoy the new opera experience.


Date  : 16 Feb. 19:00, 17 Feb. 15:00, 18 Feb. 15:00

Venue  : Opera House
Tickets : S Seats 16,200yen / A Seats 12,960yen / B Seats 8,640yen / C Seats 6,480yen

      Z Seats (Day Tickets) 1,620yen

Limited number of tickets are available for purchase from here. D Seats are sold out.

Day Tickets (Z seats) are also available from here.
How to Buy Tickets