Luca Veggetti's LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT Set for Japan Society's NOH-NOW Series
As part of Japan Society's Fall 2017-Winter 2018 Performing Arts Season, the Society presents the North American premiere of Left-Right-Left, directed and choreographed by Luca Veggetti.
Commissioned by Japan Society and Yokohama Noh Theater, this work arrives as a featured event in the NOH-NOW series coinciding with the Society's 110th anniversary. Left-Right-Left will have two performances in New York: Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm at Japan Society (333 East 47th Street).
Known for his longtime devotion to noh theater and its significant influence on his work, Italian director and choreographer Luca Veggetti, in collaboration with esteemed noh musician Genjiro Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi small hand drums, recently nominated by the Japanese government for the title of Living National Treasure, who acts as this production's music director, explores the point of intersection between Japan's 600-year-old tradition and today's efforts in dance in Left-Right-Left. This new work, a reflection of these artists' deeply rooted sensibilities in both East and West, is performed by three leading Japanesedancers including internationally revered butoh dancer Akira Kasai, contemporary dancer Megumi Nakamura (former member of Nederlands Dans Theater) and butoh-trained dancer Yukio Suzuki, accompanied by live traditional noh percussive sounds by noh musicians Genjiro Okura (noh small hand drum) and Rokurobyoe Fujita (noh flute). A child noh actor Rinzo Nagayama recites passages from the traditional noh plays Okina and Hagoromo in English, newly translated by foremost Japanese literary and noh scholar, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University and recipient of the Order of Culture as awarded by the Japanese government, Dr. Donald Keene (text translation/project advisor). This new work, co-commissioned and co-produced by Japan Society and Japan's Yokohama Noh Theater, offers a lens into the microcosm of humanity.
Left-Right-Left is a translation of the term sa-yu-sa, referring to the direction of movement on a noh stage. The structure of the piece is inspired by the oldest noh play/sacred ritual Okina, a three-part dance of celebration and prayer for peace and prosperity symbolizing man's time on earth. Accordingly, Left-Right-Left is performed in three parts, each of which features a different dancer paired with musical accompaniment by two noh musicians and text passages recited by the young noh actor Rinzo Nagayama, with interconnecting interludes. This new work by Veggetti evokes an ancient, primitive ritual, beginning with a quiet tone, and soon gathering momentum, as if a spirit intervenes - transforming the performers as they seem to shed their own age, gender and individual identity.
Centered around dialogue and exchange, Left-Right-Left developed through an artistic exchange which began in February 2015 when Luca Veggetti had his first residency in Japan hosted by Yokohama Noh Theater, where he workshopped with collaborator Genjiro Okura. Before a second residency, again at Yokohama Noh Theater, in summer 2016, Veggetti met and exchanged ideas with all three dancers who would eventually become part of the project, in Tokyo, New York and Rome. This production explores Eastern and Western aesthetics and art practices, as well as tradition versus innovation, by utilizing the unique and timeless stylization of noh as a tool to express contemporary life and art. Left-Right-Left, with Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor and Costume Design by Japanese fashion designer Mitsushi Yanaihara, arrives at Japan Society directly following its September 2017 world premiere at Yokohama Noh Theater.
Luca Veggetti (Choreographer/Director) was born in Bologna in 1963 and trained at La Scala in Milan, beginning his career as choreographer and stage director in 1990. With interests toward contemporary music, experimental forms and new technologies, he has collaborated with some of today's most important ensembles and composers including Toshio Hosokawa and Kaija Saariaho. Veggetti's work has been produced and presented by leading centers around the world including The Drawing Center, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cité de la musique in Paris. Select projects include Iannis Xenakis' Oresteia and Kaija Saariaho's Maa at Miller Theatre in co-production with the Guggenheim's Works & Process series, Toshio Hosokawa's opera Hanjo at Tokyo's Suntory Hall, creations for the Martha Graham Dance Company, NOTATIONOTATIONS at The Drawing Center, Xenakis' Project IX - Pleiades at Japan Society, Hosokawa's opera The Raven for the first New York Philharmonic Biennial, Hosokawa's opera Vision of Lear in Hiroshima, Kaija Saariaho's The Tempest Songbook for Gotham Chamber Opera with the Martha Graham Dance Company at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the performance/video installation Scenario conceived for the spaces at The Mart as part of Oriente Occidente Dance Festival in Italy and a multimedia puppet production on Schoenberg's Pelleas and Melisande at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park.
Genjiro Okura (Music Director / kotsuzumi, Small Hand Drum Player) was born in 1957 as the second son of Chojuro Okura, 15th Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi-kata, or small hand drum players. He first performed on stage at the age of 7, and in 1985, succeeded his father as the head of the Okura School. In 2017, he was nominated by the Japanese government for the title of Living National Treasure. In addition to his rigorous performance schedule of traditional noh, Genjiro devotes himself to working on shinsaku (new noh works) and fukkyoku (revived noh works). Genjiro has performed abroad extensively on over 30 international tours including throughout the U.S., France, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia, Portugal and Hungary. Genjiro performed at Japan Society 2007 as part of the special Takigi Noh: Noh & Kyogen in the Park performance presented in celebration of the Society's 100th anniversary.
Yokohama Noh Theater (YNT), a section of Yokohama Arts Foundation under Yokohama Municipal government, operates the oldest noh stage in Eastern Japan, which was originally built in 1875 in Tokyo and moved to the current location in Yokohama in 1996. The YNT produces and presents year-round programs staged on the noh theater. Centered around noh and kyogen performances, YNT's program ranges from other forms of Japanese traditional performing arts to new productions which incorporate traditional and International Artists. The notable awards the YNT has received include Grand Prize (2015) and Excellence Award (2019) from the Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival (2015) and Prime Minister Awards by Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities (2006).
Japan Society's Fall 2017-Winter 2018 Performing Arts Season includes the second installment of the Noh-Now Series, featuring four extraordinary events in dance and theater. Following this presentation of Luca Veggetti's Left-Right-Left, the series continues with Hiroshi Sugimoto's Rikyu-Enoura (November 3-5, 2017), Siti Company's Hanjo (December 7-9, 2017) and Satoshi Miyagi's Mugen Noh Othello (January 11-14, 2018). Japan Society's new Performing Arts Season kicks off in September, with the North American Premiere of Moto Osada's opera, Four Nights of Dream (September 13-16, 2017). These events, coinciding with Japan Society's milestone 110th Anniversary, bring together celebrated artists from the U.S. and Japan, delivering world class cultural offerings while continuing Japan Society's mission to deepen mutual understanding between the two nations into the Society's twelfth decade. The popular NOH-NOW Series debuted to much acclaim in 2007 timed to Japan Society's centennial, and now, ten years later, the Society proudly serves up a new edition with a slate of performances highlighting how contemporary artists draw inspiration from Japan's centuries-old traditions.
Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced nearly 700 of Japan's finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-Edge Theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works to non-Japanese artists, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs.
Founded in 1907, Japan Society in New York City presents sophisticated, topical and accessible experiences of Japanese art and culture, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and innovation between the U.S. and Japan. More than 200 events annually encompass world-class exhibitions, dynamic classical and cutting-edge contemporary performing arts, film premieres and retrospectives, workshops and demonstrations, tastings, family activities, language classes, and a range of high-profile talks and expert panels that present open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia.
During the 2017-18 season, Japan Society celebrates its 110th anniversary with expanded programming that builds toward a richer, more globally interconnected 21st century: groundbreaking creativity in the visual and performing arts, unique access to business insiders and cultural influencers, and critical focus on social and educational innovation, illuminating our world beyond borders.
Left-Right-Left has performances Friday, October 13 (followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception) and Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm (followed by artist Q&A). Tickets $35/$30 Japan Society members can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00am - 6:00pm and Sat-Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm). For further details, or information on packages including the NOH-NOW Series, please visit www.japansociety.org, or call 212-715-1258. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street). For general information, contact 212-832-1155 or www.japansociety.org.
Noh Music Workshop with Genjiro Okura
October 14, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Genjiro Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi (small hand drums), leads a workshop on the unique musical accompaniment found in traditional noh theater. Using "air" drums, participants will learn typical rhythms and calls that help to narrate the rich noh narratives. Maximum 30 participants. Tickets $45/$35 Japan Society members.