Watch: spiderweb dance (Tsuchigumo shimai)

Here is a clip from the 4th Tatsushige no Kai showing actors Udaka Norishige and Yamada Isumi performing the shimai dance excerpt from the noh Tsuchigumo. In the play, a monstrous spider disguised as a monk throws spider webs at the warrior Raikō. The spider webs are made of thin strips of Japanese paper with small lead weights attached to their extremities.

Advertisements

The 4th Tatsushige no Kai: Tanikō 谷行 June 30 2018

On June 30 2018 Udaka Tatsushige will perform the noh Tanikō 谷行, a rarely performed play set in the world of shugendō, a syncretic religion fusing Buddhist beliefs with the worship of natural elements. The followers of shugendō, known as yamabushi (mountain-priests) perform austerities during their pilgrimages across the sacred mountains between the present-day Osaka and Nara prefectures.

This noh is full of action, featuring a group of yamabushi forced to sacrifice one of their young acolytes by hurling him down a valley, and the intervention of a fierce deity who coming to rescue the child.

Tanikō famously inspired Bertolt Brecht’s school operas Jasager/Neinsager.

All information on the play and on how to reserve your seat HERE.

20180630-02

— Diego Pellecchia

 

Pieces to study this summer

Sakuragawa – ami no dan. Dance and chant, for my first solo chant performance with one drum (dokuchō).

Hanjo – maibayashi. Chū-no-mai, technically not difficult. However the character of Hanako is very complex and wills be difficult to render. Also, the chant is rather difficult. This will be in preparation for a forthcoming performance in Kyoto, in which I will sing in the chorus.

Raku ware and Noh masks exhibition in Kyoto

The exhibition “The wabi of Raku and the yūgen of Noh: the aesthetics of form” has opened today at the Raku Museum in Kyoto. The exhibition displays tea bowls made according to the raku tradition of pottery and noh masks from various collections. Among the items on display are some ancient masks belonging to the Kongō Iemoto collection. See a list (in English) of the works on display here
The wabi of Raku and the yūgen of Noh: the aesthetics of form

Saturday 17 March – Sunday 24 June 2018

flyer36.jpg

Restaurant with Noh stage to open in Tokyo this month

Suigian (水戯庵), a sushi restaurant featuring a noh stage, is set to open in Nihonbashi (Tokyo) on March 20, 2018. The restaurant will offer daily performances of Noh and Kyogen. I have mixed feelings about it. Yes offering this kind of performance is not philologically incorrect as people did eat drink and even smoke inside noh theatres in the past. Yes, we need to bring more people closer to noh so we should embrace ways to popularize it. But would you like to watch noh with the noise of people drinking cheering chewing etc? With the smell of food and alcoholic burps in the air? Would performers like it? The restaurant looks posh enough and is endorsed by performers (you can see famous actors and musicians featuring the photos on the website) still…  I wonder what plays they will perform… in the case of Noh, I can think of very few that I would enjoy watching while having something in my stomach… I wonder what you guys think!

Suigian

 

‘Tea ceremony and drum beats from Japan’ – news from Ōkura Genjirō’s performance in India

Kolkata, Feb 27 (IBNS)  Drinking tea is so common to us in India that only a personal choice, Darjeeling orthodox or Assam’s CTC, can become a debatable point. But in Japan, the process of tea making and drinking evolved into an elaborate ceremony that can stretch from 40 to 45 minutes.

— Read on m.indiablooms.com/life-details/L/3509/tea-ceremony-and-drum-beats-from-japan.html

Females find new voice in Kayoi Komachi/ Komachi Visited noh-opera hybrid

Read the article – The Georgia Straight

“Kayoi Komachi/Komachi Visited is not just a revolutionary new mix of western chamber opera with Japan’s ancient Noh theatre. It’s a rare chance to see the rarest of Noh performers: women.”

“The first thing you come up against is just being non-Japanese is a challenge. None from outside the country have become professional Noh actors,” says [director and playwright Colleen][…] Lanki. “And I’m a foreign woman—I never even cared to or attempted to be a professional. Plus I started too late; you’d have to devote your life to it. I just love studying it.”

Being a woman and starting late may be the real challenges, and both apply to Japanese nationals, too. Should a foreign exchange student age 18 or 19 decide to relocate to Japan and start studying in earnest (read: dedicate all the time to practice) we may be able to see a non-Japanese become a professional. The real issue may be: all foreigners (including myself) start late, and do not want to (or cannot) dedicate their entire lives to the practice of noh. It makes sense: with a very grim outlook for getting a job in the noh world, even for the Japanese, it takes a fool or a billionaire to decide to give up everything for noh.

Noh Kiyotsune with English subtitles in Tokyo

Tessenkai is producing a special event in Tokyo on March 25th (details below) featuring the noh Kiyotsune. On the day of the performance, the audience will be able to follow the action on the scene while reading subtitles appearing directly on personal tablets or smartphones via an app. The service is provided by Hinoki Shoten, publisher of noh books. I took care of the English edition of the subtitles.

March_25th_2018_Noh-page-001.jpg

March_25th_2018_Noh-page-002

Kyogen-inspired opera The Marriage of Figaro in Kyoto

A kyogen-inspired rendition of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) will be performed at the Kyoto Furitsu Keihanna Hall (Main Hall) on March 22. While the headline is rather vague, the cast list is revealing: a small orchestra of oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and contrabass accompanies kyogen actors Shigeyama Akira and his son Dōji, along with famous noh and bunraku performers. Apparently, there will be no opera singers involved.

Tickets and detailed information here (Japanese).狂言風オペラおもて