21 October, 2011

Synopsis of The Butterfly Dream

opera The Butterfly Dream / Tomohisa Hashimoto 
オペラ『胡蝶の夢』Japanese title : Kocho-no Yume

Monday 31 October 2011 19:30 start.
Kees van Baarenzaal, Koninklijk Conservatorium
Juliana van Stolberglaan 1, Den Haag
TEL +31(0)70 315 15 15 www.koncon.nl

For those who wants to read the synopsis before you see the performance,
here is the Introduction with my marvelous-handwritten character diagram. :-)

The opera "The Butterfly Dream" is an adaptation from the original Noh story, "Tsuchigumo (ground spider)". However, the setting has been altered significantly by the way of treating Tsuchigumo as a real ethnic group that is under discrimination. It has become a story of morals by eliminating a monster, to a lyrical tragedy caused by an ethnic conflict. In the original story Kocho (means butterfly in Japanese) plays a minor part, but in the revised opera she plays the leading role, wavered in the struggle between Tsuchigumo and Minamoto clan. 

The cast plays the "Past" (1000 A.D.= mid Heian Era in Japan) on stage, and the "Present" is showed by video projection. So the story evolves in two different times.

The action takes place both in Heian period and modern time in Japan.

in Heian period (Stage)
KOCHÔ: The daughter of Tsuchigumo clan chief, Fusa. 16 years old.
FUSA: The mother of Kochô. The female chief of Tsuchigumo clan.
ATARU: The father of Gen, disappeared just before Gen's birth. No contact since then.
Tsuchigumo: People defy the royal dynasty and live in the mountains.
Nigma: Regarded as the radical group of the Tsuchigumo clan.
TERE, TSUKU, TEN: Officers, members of the Tsuchigumo assembly.

RAIKÔ: The chief of Minamoto clan. He is ill in bed.
GEN: A loyal warrior of Raikô, orphaned when he was very young.
Genji: The Minamoto clan was also called the Genji Clan.

in Modern Time (Video)
NAKANO: A historian and writer. He is writing his new novel, “Butterfly Dream.”
DRIVER: A taxi driver gives Nakano a one-day ride to and from Mt.Kazuragi

The story evolves as a play-within-play. It is based on the text from “Butterfly Dream” by historian and story-writer Nakano. The story is set in 1000 A.D. (mid Heian Era) in Japan. There are a group of people who live in the mountainous region of Tsuchigumo. A radical Tsuchigumo group, Nigma is on the rise. Fusa, the female chief of Tsuchigumo has been contacting Raikô, the chief of the Genji clan, to ask him to intervene in the dispute with Nigma. One day, a murder occurs, in which a messenger sent by Raikô to Fusa is killed by a boy from Nigma. This becomes the catalyst for Genji to invade Tsuchigumo.
Kochô, the daughter of Fusa, has been in charge of bringing the medicine to Raikô, who is under treatment. Although Raikô cannot live without taking his medicine, a warrior, Gen, tells Kocho to keep away from Rikô's residence and turns her away.
A punitive force is formed to subdue Tsuchigumo. Gen also travels off towards Mt. Kazuragi as a member. The night before the attack, Gen dreams of his father Ataru who mysteriously disappeared 15 years ago. Eventually, the Genji fighters crowd around the Tsuchigumo settlement and set it on fire.

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