“I have chosen Matsukaze, one of Zeami’s finest works, as a starting point, reconstructed its libretto, composed music, and by means of new stage directions, tried to create a new opera based on a No- which lives in our own time.” –Toshio Hosokawa
Matsukaze (Pining Wind or Wind in the Pines) is regarded as one of the most beautiful of the Noh plays. Written in the 15th century by Ze-ami, the title is a poetic play on words. Matsu can mean pine tree or to wait or long for, while kazu is the word for wind. A nobleman is exiled briefly to the Bay of Suma where he falls in love with two sisters, Matsukaze and Murasame (Autumn Rain), whose job was to ladle brine in order to make salt. He promises to return to them, but after word comes of his death, they die of grief. Hundreds of years later, the sisters continue to linger as spirits in the mortal realm, awaiting Yukihira’s return, still attached to their mortal love.
Toshio Hosokawa opens his modern Noh-opera with sounds of the ocean as a monk comes ashore and encounters a lone pine tree. After he learns that this is the grave marker for the two sisters, he prays for their souls. Matsukaze and Murasame then appear to him and sob. Matsukaze, wearing the robe of Yukihira, mistakes the pine tree for her lost lover and tries to embrace it. Murasame is unable to calm her. The monk offers a memorial service and then in a dream, the spirit sisters disappear. The opera closes with the sound of hundreds of pine needles falling from the sky, touched by wind (Matsukaze) and showering the ground like rain (Murasame).
Hosokawa, born in 1955, studied in Germany and is considered Japan’s most prominent living composer. His compositional process is strongly informed by concepts of Zen Buddhism and nature.
In a co-production with the Spoleto Festival, the Lincoln Center Festival brings Matsukaze to the Gerald W. Lynch Theater with a new production that reflects its American premiere. Spoleto Festival resident conductor, John Kennedy will conduct the Talea Ensemble with a cast of four soloists and small chorus.
For more information:
Trailor for Berlin Production:
Arte TV short documentary (in French or German only)
Purchase Tickets: Lincoln Center Festival
July 18-20, 2013
Gerald W. Lynch Theatre
New York, NY
Composer: Toshio Hosokawa
Libretto: Hanna Dübgen
Director: Chen Shi-Zheng
Conductor: John Kennedy
Set design: Chris Barreca
Lighting design: Scott Zielinski
Video design: Olivier Rosset
Costume design: Elizabeth Caitlin Ward
Cast: Pureum Jo (Matsukaze); Jihee Kim (Murasame); Gary Simpson (Monk); and Thomas Meglioranza (Fisherman)