Himiko: Memories of the Sun Goddess

(A production by Suntory Hall)

 Get set for the grand staging of Himiko: Memories of the Sun Goddess at the Esplanade on May 20, 2016.   

The production is a special collaboration between Japan’s Suntory Hall and Singapore’s Esplanade and is the brainchild of four venerable artistes—kabuki actor Fukusuke Nakamura, composer Yoshihiro Kanno, violinist Yasuko Otani and shamisen player Mojibei Tokiwazu.

It tells the myth of Himiko, an enigmatic avatar of the sun goddess, and brings with it a breathtaking theatrical experience of music and dance, traditional and classical art, fused with East and West influences. Its world premiere in 2014 at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo left its audience and critics in awe.

This Singapore performance will feature distinguished musicians, conductor Yoshihiro Kanno, cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and violinist Yasuko Otani, performing with some of the most outstanding Japanese traditional musicians, western classical musicians from Singapore and kabuki performer Kotaro Nakamura (son of co-creator Fukusuke Nakamura), reprising his role as Himiko. Joining them on stage will be a shomyo chorus of 16 Buddhist monks reciting sacred chants.

Mr Tsutsumi, who is also the President of Suntory Hall, told the Singapore Press Club website:  “The pageant will be part of the SJ50 series of events to commemorate 50 years of Singapore-Japan diplomatic ties. Earlier, Suntory’s subsidiary Cerebos was a sponsor of the ChildAid Asia Tokyo 2016 Concert at Suntory Hall – the first event of the SJ50 series.”

According to Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun: “The performance embraces different times, cultures and genres… giving a glance at a whole new potential art form.”

Mr Tsutsumi points out that on May 20 “Himiko will be staged for the first time outside Japan”. Only concert halls in Tokyo, Hokkaido and Fukuoka have staged this magnificent spectacle. “It is the first major attempt to combine Japanese traditional performances with European music,” he said. “Several talented Japanese musician and dancers will be on stage performing.

“The sun goddess is revered in Japan because she makes the world bright. The story of the goddess is told through the story of Himiko, a ruler of Japan, who either disappointed or angry hid behind a rock. People wanted her to come out. Composer Kanno has done a wonderful job putting together this piece.”

Mr Tsutsumi, a renowned artist, will lead the cello section.

“To commemorate its 30th anniversary this year, Suntory Hall will be presenting a series of programmes and performances, the largest number of annual performances in its history, around the world,” he said.  “We entered into a collaboration with the Esplanade last year and plan to work with young, talented musicians from Singapore in the future.”

Suntory Hall opened in October 12, 1986, as the first dedicated concert hall in Tokyo. Based on the concept of Hibiki, which means beautiful sound, it presents creative, high-quality performances. It is a highly regarded venue by artistes as well as classical music fans, both in Japan and internationally.

Tickets for the 1hr 45min Himiko performance on May 20 are priced at $38*, $58* and $88^. There are concessions for students, NSFs and senior citizens.

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