Japanese Theatre on Film: The Sumidagawa Project

Two versions. One haunting tale. A mother searches for her lost son. Driven half-mad with worry, she meets a ferryman on the Sumida River who may know something. But is she prepared to learn the truth? The tragic story of Sumidagawa has haunted Japanese and Western artists for hundreds of years. Join JETAANC and Theatre of Yugen on April 13, 2014 at San Francisco’s NOHspace, as we explore two very different versions of the story on film: Noh theatre and a Britten chamber opera. Don’t miss this chance to study these rarely-screened masterpieces. The class is free and open  to the public. For more information, visit: http://theatreofyugen.org/?spec=137

Check out the links below and explore on your own one of the most haunting tales in world history.

Related Links

General links about Noh, Kabuki, and other Japanese performing arts are here.

Videos (see also Related Videos below)

Synopses/Translations/Primary Sources

Commentary

Related Videos

Performance Reviews

  • Review of Yoshi Oida’s production of Curlew River in New York (2007)
  • Reviews of Olivier Py’s production of Curlew River, Lyceum, Edinburgh (2005)
  • Review of Czech production of Curlew River (2005) – pp. 40 ff.
  • Reviews of Graham Vick’s production of Curlew River at BBC Prom 17 in London (2004)
  • Review of Graham Vick’s production of Curlew River at BBC Prom 17 in London by Nick Breckenfield (2004)
  • Review of Kinki Sakurama’s production of Curlew River in Suffolk, England (2001)
  • Review of Chanticleer’s production of Curlew River in San Francisco (1998)
  • Review of Voice of the Spirit, London Voices recording of Curlew River at the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (1998)
  • Review of Sumidagawa (Tessenkai Noh Troupe) and Curlew River (Jonathan Eaton production) by Anthony Tommasini (1997)
  • Review of Sumidagawa (Tessenkai Noh Troupe) and Curlew River (Jonathan Eaton production) by Lindsley Cameron (1997)
  • Review of St Giles’s Church performance of Curlew River in Cripplegate, City of London (1996)
  • Review of Center for Contemporary Opera’s production of Curlew River (1988)
  • Review of Southwestern University’s production of Curlew River in Texas (1985)
  • Review of Chamber Opera Theater’s production of Curlew River (1984)
  • Excellent review of the original production of Curlew River (1966)
  • Review of the original production of Curlew River (1965)
  • Sumidagawa (Natsu Nakajima’s Butoh version) / Curlew River performances in Vancouver, Canada (2007)
  • Sumidagawa (Susumu Yoshida’s opera version), France (2007/2008)

In 2011, JETAANC Kabuki Club explored three versions of the story: Noh theatre, Kabuki theatre, and Britten’s chamber opera: Click here to download event flyer: Sumidagawa Project Flyer Sumidagawa (Noh version) September 11, 2011, 2pm, Center for Japanese Studies, UC Berkeley First performed in medieval Japan, the Noh version of Sumidagawa has moved audiences for centuries with its particular blend of mystery and pathos. A master work in the kyojomono category of Noh play—dramas of madwomen. 80 mins. In Japanese with English and Japanese subtitles. Click here for more information.   Sumidagawa (Kabuki version) September 18, 2011, 2pm, Oakland Asian Cultural Center With inspiration from Russian ballet, the Noh version was adapted to the Kabuki stage. The result is one of the great modern masterpieces of Kabuki. The famed onnagata Nakamura Utaemon VI plays the mother in one of his signature roles. 45 mins. In Japanese with English translation. Click here for more information.   Curlew River (chamber opera version) October 16, 2011, 2pm, Center for Japanese Studies, UC Berkeley Introduced by internationally-recognized actor, director, and composer, Jeffrey Bihr, director of Chanticleer’s critically acclaimed production of Curlew River. Benjamin Britten was a world-renowned composer when he saw the Noh Sumidagawa in Japan in 1956. Intensely moved, he vowed to write a chamber opera of the story. Transposing the setting to the Curlew River in medieval England, Britten composed a powerful and touching parable for our times. 70 mins. In English with English subtitles.  Click here for more information.

For more information, email communications@jetaanc.org or contact:

Center for Japanese Studies, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, (510) 642-3156

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth Street, Suite 290, Oakland, (510) 637-0455

Sponsored by JETAANC Kabuki Club, the UC Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies, and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center