A new multimedia opera based on Andō Hiroshige’s ’53 Stations of the Tokaido,’ commissioned by Okeanos, the UK’s unique Japanese-Western Music ensemble, premieres at the Cheltenham Music Festival.
Okeanos is an ensemble which mixes traditional Japanese instruments, such as koto, sho and shamisen, with western ones. They open this event with a taste of traditional Japanese music, before composer Nicola LeFanu and librettist Nancy Gaffield discuss how this distinctive soundworld influenced the creation of this new multimedia opera, Tokaido Road.
Taking its name from the series of vivid woodblock prints by Japanese artist Hiroshige, the opera brings Hiro – the figure present in every picture – to life. Journeying from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto against a backdrop of old and new images, Hiro tells of his encounters – humorous, amorous, tragic – through mime, dance, speech and song.