“Four Nights of Dream” is the first full-length opera by Moto Osada. After premiering at Sweden’s Vadstena Academy in 2008, where it was praised for both its beauty and simplicity, the work will make its North American premiere on September 13, 2017, also marking the opening of Japan Society’s 110th Anniversary season and its newly-renovated theater.
Adapting the libretto from the beloved Natsume Soseki’s novel ‘Ten Nights of Dreams,” Osada’s opera focuses on four scenes not related by plot or theme, but by Osada’s poetic vision.
“The four stories I selected are very operatic and anti-operatic at the same time,” said Osada. “They deal with either love/sex or death, or both…of course those are traditional, classic subject matters for opera. The stories are anti-operatic in the sense that they aren’t very dramatic – not much happens. So I thought it would be interesting and at the same time challenging to make them into an opera… Basically, I just needed to let the events and the characters inspire me.”
Natsume Soseki is credited as one of the greatest writers of Japanese novels, influencing such figures as Yukio Mishima, Kobo Abe, and Haruki Murakami. Directing the production is Obie Award-winner Alec Duffy, while Mimi Lien designs the set, and Ken-David Masur will conduct the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Chamber Orchestra. The union of the Eastern Orchestra and Western, New York-based singers is another aspect worth noting for this work of seemingly unconnected stories and influences.
After its run in New York, ‘Four Nights of Dream” will make its Japanese premiere at the prestigious Tokyo Bunka Kaikan performing arts center, a co-commissioner of the production.
Since its founding in 1907, the Japan Society of New York has sought to bring the artistic and cultural gems of Japan to the city that never sleeps. With over 200 events every year, the expanded programming of its 110th anniversary will undoubtedly allow New Yorkers an even-greater chance to experience Japanese culture firsthand.