Futari Shizuka – The Maiden from the Sea

When opera meets Noh meets video game technology

CONTACT: Andrea Jung
karsten witt musik management gmbh

leuschnerdamm 13, d-10999 berlin
t +49-30-214 594 232  f +49-30-214 594 101

Demo of the opera (3minutes 30 secondes) with english subtitles

A 6 minute extract of the opera without cut, with english subtitles

Full opera (40 minutes) with english subtitles


For his latest opera, Toshio Hosokawa (composer) has teamed up with multimedia artist Thomas Israel (direction, stage & video design) and François Zajega (generative and interactive video) to create an immersive and interactive experience using video projection that evolves and reacts symbiotically to the music. The libretto based on the Noh play Futari Shizuka (The Two Shizukas), is sung both in English and Japanese: a migrant woman, Helen (soprano), is lost on a beach shore where she meets another woman, who has been lost in the snow for nine centuries: The Ghost of Lady Shizuka (Noh singer & dancer).  These strong women share a tragic fate, caused by men’s wars, but their encounter might change their paths. It’s a cathartic and trans-historic piece, mixing the codes of Noh Theater and contemporary lyrical opera.
The space of the opera is a “in-between”, dream-like space, where humans can communicate with ghosts. We made it the third character of the opera: it’s an generative and interactive 3D space reacting when necessary to the music, the voices or thoughts of the characters. For that we used video game technology.
Western and Eastern traditions meet, past history and contemporary themes and technology encounter, to give shape to the encounter of an ancient Japanese ghost with a present-day refugee.


Press from the magazine "Ongaru no tomo"

Press clipping from the magazine ``Ongaru no tomo``

Full Japan press clipping                   press release in english

“The time of the Noh is the time of the impossible separation, this separation which is overcome by the power of memory. Strength of memory which is strength of love, a love able to create the space of a meeting in this strange ‘in-between’ space.”  

Monique Borie “Le fantôme ou le Théâtre qui doute”, Acte Sud, 1997.


Opera: Toshio Hosokawa
Libretto:Oriza Hirata
Director – stage & video design: Thomas Israel
Conductor: Shiyeon Sung
With: Ryoko Aoki (Noh Singer & Dancer) & Sarah Wegener (Soprano)
Software & generative video: François Zajéga
Costumes:Mrs Cho
Light: Jeonghun Lee
Artistic Assistant: Kika Nicolela
Technic video: Antoine Goldschmidt
Additional footage : Abe Abraham
On screen: Djair Guilherme, Pedro Guilherme, Dudu Tsuda

World premiere stage creation @ TIMF (Tongyeong International Music Festival) Tongyeong Korea – 29-3 to 31-9-2019

Word of the director

A migrant woman lost on a beach shore meets another woman lost in the snow for 9 centuries. They share a tragic fate, caused by men’s wars, but their encounter might change their paths. This is the unusual premise for this cathartic and trans-historic piece, mixing the codes of Noh Theater and contemporary lyrical opera.

Lady Shizuka’s story is more than 900 years old, but it continues to move us as it is filled with timeless dramatic elements: absolute love beyond death, abandonment, bravery, fratricidal quarrels, unquenchable pain and a quest for liberation. This strong yet abandoned woman who defies authority for love, also questions the status of women.

Each era adapts Lady Shizuka’s story in the light of its preoccupations. The fate of migrants is at the heart of our civilization. It will shape our humanity and pose questions whose answers will forge tomorrow’s societies. Thus, it is important that this question merge here with the drama of Lady Shizuka – despite the centuries between them, the tragedies of these two women expose the fragility of every human civilization.

The space of this opera, like usually in Noh theater,  is at the edge, in this “in-between” space where humans can communicate with ghosts. We have dealt with it as it is was the third character of this opera,  Its an interactive space that is evolving symbiotically with the music of Toshio Hosokawa.