PREVIEW: Sumidagawa & Curlew River
Two Great Traditions. One Great Story.
This May, Vancouver audiences will be treated to a unique double bill as City Opera Vancouver presents the immortal story Sumidagawa, from the 15th Century, together with its 20th Century twin, Curlew River, a Canadian first.
“We are building great bridges,” said City Opera artistic director Dr Charles Barber. “We are bridging five centuries and two cultures in one narrative. We tell the story of a woman driven mad by the loss of her child. It is agonizing and beautiful.”
Sumidagawa will be told by the Toronto chorographer, dancer and butoh artist Denise Fujiwara in a choreography made for her by Natsu Nakajima.
Then, the same story will be told again from a Western perspective through Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera Curlew River. It offers the same characters, the same plot, and the same dramatic arc but from a Western vantage.
“Think Roshomon,” said Barber. “Just when we think we understand, we are called upon to think again. This will be a wonderful evening of theatre, dance and music. This rare combination will touch mind and heart.”
Curlew River will be directed by John Wright, and is a co-production of City Opera, UBC Theatre and Film, and Blackbird Theatre. This double bill will be given at UBC’s Frederic Wood Theatre from May 26 to 30.
It has been endorsed by the Japanese Language School and Hall, the National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre, the Powell Street Festival, and UBC Asian Studies. An application to explorASIAN is in progress.
“Presenting Sumidagawa and Curlew River in one evening helps us speak to one another,” Barber said. “This is the Vancouver we are becoming.”
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