Spirit Harbour

Opera Kitsune


Thursday 31 July & Friday 1 August 19.00-19.35

Platform Theatre Central Saint Martins




“The idea of creating an opera that deals with contemporary themes had lingered in my mind for along time. Kyoko Miyake’s film, Surviving the Tsunami: My Atomic Aunt inspired me to present the story of a refugee from the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. The opera’s central character, Ayako Hamasaki embodies many of the qualities I found in Miyake’s Aunt Kuniko. She longs to return to her old life, and so we find an intense nostalgia undercut by a sense of hope; happiness might return, even though things will never be quite the same again.


My enduring interest in Japanese culture led me to the idea of combining elements ofNōh theatre with a more recognizable chamber opera idiom. However, the formal structures, acting style and music of Nōh are only hinted at in an abstracted form. The play is, after all, recounted from Ayako’s memory; we hear it at a distance and in the form her own understanding gave to the play”.




Ayako Hamasaki reflects on the loss of her hometown, Tomioka. She is a refugee from the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. To pass the time she tells stories from her past; presently, she recounts the Nōh play: Sesshōseki (The Killing Stone).


Act 1: The travelling monk, Gennō has arrived at the field of Nasuno-­‐no-­‐hara. He notices a stone surrounded by dead birds. A mysterious woman appears and explains that she is Lady Tamamo – the spirit possessing the rock Sesshōseki.


Act 2: At nightfall, Gennō performs a rite for the Killing Stone. The rock splits in two, revealing the spirit’s true


form: the Evil Fox. It recounts that Lady Tamamo attempted to overthrow the Emperor’s reign, but was exposed and banished to Nasuno-­‐no-­‐hara. An army was sent to kill the spectre, now resembling a fox. Once killed, its mind transformed into the Killing Stone.


The spirit receives the precious law of Buddha and disappears.


Her story at an end, Ayako sits alone singing the tune, Furusato to herself.





Lliam Paterson is from Aberdeen and has just finished the Repetiteur course at the Guildhall Opera School, after completing degrees in piano accompaniment (GSMD) and music (Cambridge University, Fitzwilliam College). He is supported by Dewar Arts Awards and The Leverhulme Trust. He has private lessons with Judith Weir. From September, Lliam will be Emerging Artist Composer-­‐in-­‐Residence with Scottish Opera.


Originally from Seattle, Bryony J. Thompson is a director, writer and designer. Directing credits include: The Importance of Being Earnest (Seattle Public Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Promises (Sell A


Door), The Way of Water (rehearsed reading), and Jane Eyre (Rosemary Branch Theatre, and tour). She is Artistic Associate at the Rosemary Branch Theatre. Follow her on twitter @bryonyjoan.


Hannah Patridge studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, singing as a Choral Scholar in Trinity College Choir. Since graduating, she has worked as a freelancer with groups such asPolyphony (Stephen Layton), L’Concert d’Astreé (Emanuelle Haim), Amici Voices (Terrence Charlston) and Florilegium Choir (Ashley Solomon).


Hamish Mackay studied at GSMD. He is currently under the tutelage of Robert Dean. He performed Judas in Jonathan Millar’s production of St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre (2011), and the Messiah with Simon Over (2013). He was Crony/cover Ben Paul Bunyan (BYO) and is singing John The Fisherman’s Brides (Lucie Treacher) at this year’s Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.


Judy Brown was born in Scotland and read music at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently enjoying postgraduate study with Susan Waters at GSMD. Recent solo engagements include a recital of English song for the Elgar Society and James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross in Bath Abbey. Forthcoming concerts include a recital of Brahms and Schumann at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Oliver Marshall studied at Warwick University and the RCM. He has worked with Olivier award-­‐winning company OperaupClose and appeared in Third Hand’s Off West End award-­‐winning Puppet Opera Triple Bill. A keen performer of contemporary opera and theatre, this is his second year at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival. He is also appearing in Third Hand’s Njogel at this year’s Festival.