Noh theatre, opera and dance
woven into an unparalleled modern-day aesthetic encounter
"[Waltz] has melded dancers and singers into one impressive ensemble who fly and swim through space like a strange dream of nature......meticulously made and compellingly beautiful" ── Financial Times
"Waltz is terrific at simultaneously marshalling and unleashing the wild energies of her dancers" ── The Guardian, UK
A moonlit sea stirred by the wind. Pine needles crisscross and intertwine. The lingering spirits of sisters Matsukaze and Murasame remain entangled in the human realm, where they relate their poignant love story to a Buddhist monk... World-renowned for cross-disciplinary collaborations, German choreographer Sasha Waltz fuses minimalist eastern theatre with textured western opera in a fluid choreographic reinterpretation of Japanese Noh classic Matsukaze. The ethereal outcome is a radically new and creative experience, praised as an "unforgettable total work of art".
Contemporary classical composer Toshio Hosokawa, acclaimed for his original envisioning of Japanese music, here distills the musical essence of Noh theatre in this modern dance-imbued rendition. In doing so, he unleashes both the painfulness and purity of Nature through a crystallised blend of the traditional and avant-garde that encompasses vocal, orchestral and even silent elucidation. As the enigmatic tale unfolds, singers also become dancers entwined in an eerily apocalyptic landscape. At times, a diaphanous web enmeshes the performers beyond time and space while reality is bounded by a wooden frame. In such ways, the vivid stagecraft serves as if a Noh bridge, crossing from now to the after life and taking souls back to the mortal world for ultimate liberation.Personnel and Cast
Director/Choreographer:Sasha Waltz (Germany)
Composer:Toshio Hosokawa (Japan)
Librettist:Hannah Dübgen (Germany)
Based on Zeami's Noh play of the same name
Music Director/Conductor:David Robert Coleman (UK)
Soprano (Matsukaze):Miwako Handa (Japan)
Mezzosoprano (Murasame):Jihee Kim (Korea)
Bass (Monk):Douglas Williams (USA)
Baritone (Fisherman):Kai-Uwe Fahnert (Germany)
Hong Kong New Music Orchestra
Commissioned by the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, co-produced with Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, in cooperation with Berliner Staatsoper, and funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Created at Radialsystem®. Sasha Waltz & Guests is funded by the State of Berlin.
By arrangement with Schott Japan, Tokyo, Japan.
Publicity Supported by
Artist's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sashawaltzandguests
Senior company dancers Shi Xuan and Zhou Niannian have performed in numerous locations in Europe and the USA over the years, working with renowned contemporary dance companies and gaining extensive teaching experience.
In this masterclass, they offer guidance from the inside out, providing relaxation and breathing exercises to release hidden tension, effectively channelling energy to the core and weight-bearing areas of the body to reduce physical constraints, and aligning thought and action to enable participants to enter a state of truly free movement.
Instructors: Shi Xuan, Zhou Niannian (Dancers)
Suitable for participants aged 16 and above with professional dance training
Participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes, socks and shoes
Pre performance Talk
Spend half an hour before the performance to learn from experienced art critics and cultural experts on how to appreciate the show.
Speaker: Natalia Chan (Dance Critic)
Free admission on a first-come-first-served basis
Organised by the International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong New Music Ensemble performs Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa's chamber piece, Drawing, together with works composed by this year's The Modern Academy fellows, under the baton of Lio Kuok-man. Hosokawa will also introduce the Asian Composers' Showcase, and provide insight into his collaboration with German choreographer Sasha Waltz on Matsukaze.
Speaker: Toshio Hosokawa (Composer, Matsukaze)
Conductor: Lio Kuok-man
Free admission. Limited seats available on a first-come-first-served basis
Enquiries: 3568 8470 (Hong Kong New Music Ensemble)
Organised by Hong Kong New Music Ensemble
Turbulence Beneath Still Water
By Yu Shiu-chin
Assistant Professor in the Department of Performing Arts, Shu-Te University, Taiwan
Matsukaze, a dance opera co-produced by internationally renowned German choreographer Sasha Waltz and Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa, offers an avant-garde reinterpretation of Noh theatre, a ritualistic form of Japanese drama fusing song, dance and spoken theatre. Based on a classic Noh play, the story revolves around two sisters who fall in love with the same man. Even after the trio die, the women cannot let go of their passion, causing their spirits to linger in the mortal world.
In Hosokawa's poetic, cerebral contemporary score, the music moves fluidly between the enigmatic and the sonorous, overflowing with dramatic tension and energy. “I don't want to create exotic opera,” (an adaptation of Noh with a western outlook) Hosokawa explained in a previous media interview. “The substance of the new is essential.” This ambition is realised by re-clothing Noh within a musical concept that draws on the strokes of classical Japanese calligraphy.
As the original inspiration behind Choreographischen Oper (choreographic opera), Waltz revels in telling stories through dance, drawing on techniques of Characteristic Choreography in particular. Synergising the roles of soloists, chorus and dancers, she creates fresh and exciting creative challenges for artists more accustomed to singers singing and dancers dancing. The vocalists, in particular, find their cross-performing arts skills tested to the full.
In Matsukaze, the interlacing of reality and dreams makes every scene change an unexpected encounter. Waltz is adroit at optimising the staging possibilities presented by sets ranging from a vast black spidery web to the stripped-down frame of a house. The result is stunning visual imagery, revealing the ethereal timelessness that forms the essence of Noh in astonishing ways.
Unlike Waltz's focus on humanity in the tragic love story of Dido and Aeneas (2005) and classical Greek myth in Medea (2007), Matsukaze counterpoints physical body and music with vivid, potent images from Nature. Still as the sea may seem on the surface, fury rages in the deep dark depths. At the close of the work, giant pine needles pour down from the sky, immersing the audience in the stormy scene of howling winds and rain.
The rustling of leaves in the lonely winds is not the only way that Matsukaze creates an impression. It also leaves a lingering profundity, built out of layer upon layer of subtle metaphors, inviting us to ponder what we have experienced over and over again.
(Only Chinese version available)
Text : Catherine Yau
Matsukaze – A Valuable Experimentation for Hosokawa and Waltz