Curlew River/Sumidagawa

May 2010

Japanese dance. Western opera. One extraordinary story. Together.

From the immortal Noh drama Sumidagawa, two modern tellings—Natsu Nakajima’s butoh dance, Sumida River and Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera, Curlew River. The story crosses five centuries and two cultures, and tells the agonizing and beautiful story of a woman driven mad by the loss of her child.

Inspired by the 15th-century Japanese masterwork Sumidagawa, this unique double bill was a Canadian event premiere. It offered gorgeous music, deeply eloquent dance, and a vision of the Vancouver we are becoming.

This was a co-production of City Opera Vancouver, UBC Theatre & Film, and Blackbird Theatre.

Cast and Creative Team

  • Charles Barber, conductor
  • John Wright, director
  • Natsu Nakajima, choreographer
  • Denise Fujiwara, dancer
  • Isaiah Bell, tenor
  • John Minágro, bass
  • Sam Marcaccini, tenor
  • Joel Klein, baritone
  • Members of the Vancouver Cantata Singers