A Japanese national opera adapted from the work of Kosaku Yamada
Again from November 7, 2017 with additional performances through January 14, 2018
Okichi is supposed to save everything: the modern government, the old empire and, most of all, the entire country of Japan. Unfortunately, this girl neither wants to grant the government’s wish and serve as a geisha to the U.S. consul nor interest in dealing with the gaijin with a swift stab to the back, as Yoshida, a samurai loyal to the empire demands. What to do? The situation is tense, the United States is threatening a military attack if the Shogun’s government does not agree to open up the Japanese market. The old group loyal to the Emperor, however, forbid all contact with foreigners under the penalty of death: in their minds, this is the only way to ensure the integrity of the culture and the nation. Okichi refuses to serve, at first. But then, we are talking about an opera here, love enters the picture.
Kurofune (Black Ships) is deemed the first large-scale national opera of modern Japan and received its world premiere in Tokyo in 1940. Kosaku Yamada (1886-1965) began studying in composition with Max Bruch in Berlin in 1910. After returning to Japan, he went to create a comprehensive oeuvre of more than 1,500 works in all genres.
Completely unknown in Europe, we are presenting the work in a chamber version, providing a musical treasure in which the jewels of Italian verismo, German romanticism and Japanese folklore shine and which tells the story of the origins of a great power from the spirit of gunboat diplomacy.
Arrangement and Musical Direction by: Aki Schmitt/Utako Washio | Directed by: Tomo Sugao | Dramaturgy by: Olivia Schaaf | Stage and Costume Design by: Yassu Yabara
Featuring: Yuri Mizobuchi, Edwin Cotton, Tobias Hagge as well as Utako Washio (piano) and Naomi Sato (sho).