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Toshio Hosokawa’s Hanjo proves that small opera will be daring opera – Seen and Heard Worldwide

United States Toshio Hosokawa, Hanjo: Soloists, Catapult Opera and Talea Ensemble / Neal Goren (conductor). NYU Skirball Heart, New York, 30.9.2022. (DS)

Jared Slater (left) and Abigail Fischer © Ian Douglas

Director/Choreographer – Luca Veggetti
Units and Lighting – Clifton Taylor
Costumes – Peter Speliopoulos
Set paintings – Moe Yoshida
Libretto – Toshio Hosokawa

Hanako – Eri Nakamura
Jitsuko – Abigail Fischer
Yoshio – Adam Richardson
Silent Determine – Saori Tsukada

A easy, chalk-drawn define of a field frames a spatial world inside an in any other case uncovered black theater stage. Singers in crisp, autumn-colored materials transfer in rigorously choreographed sluggish turns as they broach the themes of abandonment, love, possession, longing and derangement. This was the U.S. premiere of Hanjo – a Noh-inspired ‘micro-opera’ written by Toshio Hosokawa, a number one Japanese composer, and carried out by Catapult Opera with the Talea Ensemble below the path of Neal Goren.

The temper started a lot because it ended – melancholic, draped by a mantle of forlorn inertia. The environment was gripping, and the rating matched flawlessly. Hosokawa’s composition brilliantly contrasts a fervent pleasure on this extremely characterised rating with a complicated nod in the direction of modernism, all in opposition to the frozen hope of feelings revealed by the figures on stage.

Abigail Fischer (left) and Eri Nakamura (entrance) © Ian Douglas

Talea Ensemble and Catapult’s manufacturing interpreted the opera with an summary delicacy that exposed that means rather more powerfully than earlier, extra visually aggressive stagings of the work. Eri Nakamura as Hanako sang the a part of the deserted geisha with a craving fragility that she skillfully matured in texture as her character fell farther from the realms of actuality. She pulled us nearer with each flip of phrase. Abigail Fischer’s Jitsuko, the controlling feminine companion, struck a powerful, metallic timbre that duly matched in tone the surging feelings of tension and daring manipulation harbored by this character. Adam Richardson appeared halfway as Yoshio, the returning lover, and his easy mix of lyrical line and agility of phrasing led to the climactic second of a lover’s disappointment with energy and sensitivity.

A fourth determine adorned the stage. Saori Tsukada, a silent dancer, fulfilled the Noh position of narrator however expressed it by means of refined acrobatic actions that saved her near the bottom. She wove collectively the music, the story, the temper and the stillness of the singers – changing into a necessary a part of the narrative. One might simply deal with her for the length and get an equally highly effective expression of the play and the musical interpretation.

A number of technical hiccups in NYU Skirball’s operations mattered little. This miniature manufacturing of huge proportions was profitable in its simplicity and readability, and memorable for its breathtaking rating with equally flawless performances. Hosokawa’s work within the arms of the Catapult Opera is a testomony in opposition to that brazen phrase: go massive or go dwelling. Fairly preferable, the truth is, to remain small and be daring.

Daniele Sahr



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