Noh Reimagined 2024: Sumidagawa and Kinuta

Classics of Noh Tragedy

21, 22 June 2024

“Noh Reimagined” festival 2024 at Kings Place celebrates two masterpiece tragedies of traditional Japanese theatre: “Sumidagawa” and “Kinuta”.

“Sumidagawa” by Kanze Motomasa (c. 1394-1432) is one of the most renowned Noh plays and has inspired artists over the years, including Benjamin Britten for his opera Curlew River. It is a story about a mother whose son has been kidnapped. The mother embarks on a journey which ends in despair as she finds that her son died a year previously.

“Kinuta” is believed to be the last and greatest work by Zeami Motokiyo (c.1363 – c.1443), who established Noh of the current style almost 650 years ago. The rhythmic beating of the “kinuta” (fulling block) is associated with the nightfall of late autumn nights and the solitude of an abandoned wife, as well as the fading love of the husband.

Starring some of the most esteemed Noh performers from Japan, “Noh Reimagined” 2024 offers an unmissable opportunities to experience the enduring power of classical drama alongside performances, workshops, talks, and more.

Noh Reimagined will bring Noh “Sumidagawa” to the 75th Aldeburgh Festival.

The performance of Sumidagawa on 18 June will be one of the main events of the 75th Aldeburgh Festival .

Sumidagawa, one of the most renowned Noh plays, performed in the Concert Hall by acclaimed Japanese artists – truly an exciting prospect.

It will be preceded by a newly written English re-telling of the story written by Xanthe Gresham Knight and the writer and dramaturg Gareth Mattey.

Pre -performance talk : Ahead of the evening performance, hear two experts in conversation about Japanese theatre and the renowned Noh play Sumidagawa. The talk features Kohei Kawaguchi of Kanze School , one of this evening’s Noh artists and Jason James, director general of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

Motomasa Kanze:Sumidagawa (90’)

Shizuka Mikata shite, mother
Seigo Mikuriya waki, ferryman

Gasho Yamanaka jiutai chorusp
Kohei Kawaguchi jiutai chorus
Yasuki Kobayakawa jiutai chorus
Yasumitsu Kobayakawa jiutai chorus
Yasuhiro Sakoh nohkan flute
Tatsushi Narita kotsuzumi shoulder drum
Tetsuya Yamamoto otsuzumi hip drum

Xanthe Gresham Knight storyteller
Gareth Mattey 
writer and dramaturgist

Noh Reimagined 2024 is presented by Akiko Yanagisawa ( Mu Arts/ Azuki Foundation)

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