Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Translated from the Japanese by Donald Keene Performed in English with German surtitles New Production

New Production

»People who don’t wait, run away. I wait ... and today has grown dark, too.« / Hanako

Musical Director
Susanne Gschwender
Anna Eiermann
Lighting Design
Reinhard Traub
music and libretto

© Ensemble musikFabrik

A young woman with a fan in her hand waits at the station – just as she did yesterday and the day before and every other day, for years.

This is Hanako, a geisha. Some years ago she fell in love forever with Yoshio, as he did in her. When they had to part, they exchanged fans – as a promise that they would see each other again. But Yoshio has gone missing and so Hanako sits there, waiting patiently for her lover’s return. Her waiting has left her increasingly detached from the world and the world regards her as mad.

Jitsuko, a bitter, unmarried woman who has never known love, buys Hanako, hides her in her house and preserves her as the bearer of all her own unfulfilled desires. Then a newspaper article appears about mad Hanako and Yoshio suddenly turns up at the house of the two women, intending to be with Hanako at last. A struggle develops for Hanako between him and Jitsuko which ends in surprising fashion.

Hanjo is a play of ›waiting without intent‹ and a labyrinth of unspoken dreams, wishes and projections through which the protagonists stumble. The intense, transparent and reflective sounds of Hosokawa’s music provide the space for the fatal interaction of these characters.

Of his chamber opera, which is based on a Nô play by Yukio Mishima and was commissioned and premiered by the Festival d’Aix en Provence in the summer of 2004, the composer writes: »The Nô play is something apart, like a dream, and I wrote Hanjo itself as if in a dream. This is a drama which shifts back and forth across the boundaries of dream and reality, of madness and clarity.«

A co-production between the Ruhrtriennale and the Staatsoper Berlin