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Japan Society Launches NOH-NOW Series as Part of 110th Anniversary Lineup

Japan Society Launches NOH-NOW Series as Part of 110th Anniversary Lineup

In celebration of Japan Society's 110th anniversary, the Society's Performing Arts Program presents the NOH-NOW Series featuring four extraordinary events in dance and theater: Luca Veggetti's Left-Right-Left, Hiroshi Sugimoto's Rikyu-Enoura, Siti Company's Hanjo and Satoshi Miyagi's Mugen Noh Othello; and the North American Premiere of Moto Osada's opera, Four Nights of Dream, which launches the Fall 2017 Season in September.

These events 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 2017-2018 Performing Arts Season features the second installment of the NOH-NOW Series, which debuted to much acclaim in 2007 timed to Japan Society's centennial. To commemorate the centennial, the Performing Arts Program presented a NOH-NOW Series of performances highlighting how contemporary artists draw inspiration from Japan's centuries-old traditions. Now, ten years later, the Society proudly serves up a new edition, with the productions and related events detailed below.

All events take place at Japan Society, located at 333 East 47th Street. NOH-NOW Series tickets available to Japan Society members beginning Tuesday, July 25; tickets available to all beginning Tuesday, August 1. For tickets to the opera Four Nights of Dream, currently on sale, visit For tickets and further details, or information on packages, go to, or call 212-715-1258.

Further programs to be announced.

Four Nights of Dream: North American Premiere; Music & Libretto by Moto Osada; Directed by Alec Duffy; Co-commissioned and co-produced by Japan Society and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Japan; Based on a novel by Natsume Soseki

Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30pm (followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists After Party)

Friday, September 15 at 7:30pm (followed by artist Q&A)

Saturday, September 16 at 7:30pm

A frustrated samurai. An unwieldy herd of pigs. A mysterious murder. A woman's dying wish. Four surreal stories from Japanese author Natsume Soseki's (1867-1916) Ten Nights of Dream come to life in Four Nights of Dream (2008), a contemporary chamber opera by New York-based Japanese composer Moto Osada (Music and Libretto) that traverses the subconscious through colorful melodies and piercing emotions. For this new production directed by Alec Duffy and conducted by Ken-David Masur, New York vocalists and Tokyo instrumentalists (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Chamber Orchestra) come together to perform within a spellbinding and ever-morphing set by Tony Award-winning designer Mimi Lien. Costume Design by Oana Botez; Lighting Design by Tuce Yasak. In English. Tickets: $55/$45 Japan Society members.

Four Nights of Dream premiered at Sweden's Vadstena Castle in 2008. A concert version of excerpts from the opera was presented in 2012 at The New York City Opera's VOX/Opera America: New Works Forum. The September 2017 engagement at Japan Society marks a premiere of a new production, timed to the 110th anniversary of Japan Society and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Natsume Soseki, one of Japan's most popular novelists of all time. Following these performances at Japan Society, this new production will play in Japan at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in September/October 2017.

>> NOH-NOW SERIES EVENTS, as follows:

Left-Right-Left: North American Premiere; Directed & Choreographed by Luca Veggetti; Co-commissioned and produced with Japan's Yokohama Noh Theater

Friday, October 13 at 7:30pm (followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception)

Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm (followed by artist Q&A)

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 and recently designated Living National Treasure by the Japanese Government Genjiro Okura, explores the point of intersection between Japan's 600-year-old tradition and today's efforts in dance. The result, Left-Right-Left, a translation of the term "sa-yu-sa," referring to the direction of body movement on a noh stage, is Veggetti's newest creation, performed by leading Japanese butoh and contemporary dancers: Akira Kasai, Megumi Nakamura and Yukio Suzuki, accompanied by live music 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, Dr. Donald Keene (Project Advisor). This new work, co-commissioned by Japan Society and Yokohama Noh Theater, offers a lens into the microcosm of humanity. It arrives at Japan Society after the world premiere at Yokohama Noh Theater in September 2017. In English. Tickets $35/$30 Japan Society members.

>> Related Event: Noh Music Workshop with Genjiro Okura. See full details below under Workshop & Related Event listings.

Rikyu-Enoura: World Premiere; Conceived & Co-directed by Hiroshi Sugimoto; Co-commissioned and co-produced with Odawara Art Foundation

Friday, November 3 at 7:30 pm (followed by an exclusive MetLife Meet-the-Artists Soirée)

Saturday, November 4 at 7:30pm

Sunday, November 5 at 4:30pm

Rikyu-Enoura is a new noh play conceived and co-directed by Hiroshi Sugimoto, internationally acclaimed visual artist and traditional Japanese arts connoisseur. In keeping with noh's signature stylized movement, music, costumes and masks, Rikyu-Enoura, newly written by esteemed octogenarian Japanese poet Akiko Baba, features the ghost of the revered 16th-century tea ceremony master, Sen-no-Rikyu, recounting the story of his tragic death by forced suicide. Opening a door onto medieval Japan, the program begins with a tea ceremony by Sen So'oku, direct descendent of Sen-no-Rikyu, and features Japan's top noh actors and musicians. In Japanese with English titles. Pre-performance lecture begins 1 hour prior to the start of each performance. Tickets to all performances: $95/$75 Japan Society members. Tickets for the Opening Night Performance + Exclusive Soirée: $120/$100 Japan Society members (limited availability).

Rikyu-Enoura previewed in a work-in-progress showing at the MOA Museum of Art in Japan in February 2017. This program is presented in conjunction with Japan Society's Fall Gallery exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise, which focuses on the late 16th century, a turbulent period in Japan. This program reunites Japan Society with renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, following the 2013 presentation of SANBASO, divine dance, presented with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with set and costumes by Sugimoto and performed by stage legend Mansai Nomura.

>> Related Event: Rikyu-Enoura presented in conjunction with Japan Society's Fall Gallery Exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise. See full details below under Workshop & Related Event listings.

Hanjo: New York City Premiere; by Yukio Mishima from Modern Noh Plays; Directed and translated by Leon Ingulsrud; Created and performed by Siti Company

Thursday, December 7 at 7:30pm (followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception)

Friday, December 8 at 7:30pm (followed by artist Q&A)

Saturday, December 9 at 7:30pm

Based on a 14th-century noh play with the same title, Hanjo, by provocative Japanese author Yukio Mishima (1925-1970), is a timeless tale of love, loneliness and betrayal. New York's acclaimed Siti Company unveils Mishima's Hanjo as a bilingual triptych in which the actors rotate through each character role, as the piece moves toward a staggering conclusion. Directed by co-artistic director and Japanese-English bilingual actor/director Leon Ingulsrud, this new interpretation of Mishima's masterpiece weaves together noh theater's elegance, expressiveness and economy with techniques of contemporary theater to shed light on identity, gender, language and ultimately the art of acting. In English and Japanese. Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society members.

Mugen Noh Othello: North American Premiere; based on William Shakespeare's Othello; Directed by Satoshi Miyagi; Performed by members of Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (SPAC); Presented by Japan Society as part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival

Thursday, January 11 at 7:30pm (followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception)

Friday, January 12 at 7:30pm (followed by artist Q&A)

Saturday, January 13 at 7:30pm

Sunday, January 14 at 4:00pm

Satoshi Miyagi and SPAC return to Japan Society with Mugen Noh Othello, following the company's sold-out run of Medea in 2011. Miyagi, internationally-acclaimed director and successor to Tadashi Suzuki at SPAC, who is known for his unique take on Western masterpiece plays, re-tells Shakespeare's famed tragedy through noh theater's most distinct storytelling structure, mugen noh, or a play that begins with a monologue by the ghost of an eminent person who has suffered a tragic death. In this play, the ghost is Othello's wife, Desdemona, who tells the story from her own perspective. Miyagi's production is replete with stunning masks and costumes as well as powerful live music and chanting. In Japanese with English titles. Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society.

>> Related Event: Theater Technique Workshop with SPAC. See full details below under Workshop & Related Event listings.

WORKSHOPS & RELATED EVENTS: 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season:

Gallery Exhibition / Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise

October 20, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Timed with Rikyu-Enoura (November 3 - 5, 2017)

Conceived by internationally acclaimed visual artist and Rikyu-Enoura co-director Hiroshi Sugimoto, this exhibition visualizes an early encounter between East and West during a fluid, turbulent period in 16th-century Japan. Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise traces the journey of four Japanese youths, dispatched as envoys to the princely and papal courts of Europe, making them among the first Japanese to travel to the Western world and placing them at the mercy of global, political and religious forces far beyond their control. The exhibition includes tea implements attributed to tea master Sen-no-Rikyu, the protagonist of the noh play Rikyu-Enoura, as well as Kano-school nanban paintings, among the type of artwork supported by Rikyu's patrons and Japan's powerful 16th-century rulers, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Noh Music Workshop with Genjiro Okura

October 14, 10:30am - 12:00pm

In conjunction with Left-Right-Left (October 13-14, 2017)

Genjiro Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi (small hand drums) and Living National Treasure, 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 20 participants. Tickets $45/$35 Japan Society members.

Theater Technique Workshop with SPAC

January 13, 1:30 - 3:30pm

In conjunction with Mugen Noh Othello (January 11 - 14, 2018)

SPAC training, which incorporates the methodologies of Satoshi Miyagi and Tadashi Suzuki, includes intensive practice in vocalization, physicality and rhythm. During this workshop led by SPAC company members, participants will learn body exercises required for SPAC's unique voice production. Maximum 20 participants. Professional movement/acting experience required. Participants must wear socks and exercise wear. Tickets $45/$35 Japan Society members.

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.

Tickets for performances and related events at Japan Society can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00am - 7:00pm and Sat-Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm). 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 more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit

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