For his latest opera, Toshio Hosokawa has teamed up with multimedia artist Thomas Israel to create an immersive and interactive experience using video projection that evolves and reacts symbiotically to the music.
The libretto, written by Oriza Hirata based on the Noh play Futari Shizuka (The Two Shizukas), is sung both in English and Japanese: a migrant woman, Helen (soprano), is lost on a beach shore where she meets another woman, who has been lost in the snow for nine centuries: The Ghost of Lady Shizuka. They share a tragic fate, caused by men’s wars, but their encounter might change their paths.
This is the unusual premise for this cathartic and trans-historic piece, mixing the codes of Noh Theater and contemporary lyrical opera. The role of Lady Shizuka was specifically written for Japanese Noh singer and dancer Ryoko Aoki.
In Futari Shizuka, Western and Eastern traditions meet, mixing the codes of Noh theatre and contemporary opera, in order to give shape to the unique story of the encounter of an ancient Japanese ghost with a present-day refugee.
The first staged production of this opera, directed by Thomas Israel, was received with great acclaim. It premiered on March 29. 2019, at Tongyeong International Music Festival with Sarah Wegener in the role of Helen and Ryoko Aoki in the role of the Ghost of Lady Shizuka under the artistic direction of conductor Shiyeon Sung.