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Friday, July 14, 2006
'MISHIMA × CHOPIN'
A revival continues
By TAI KAWABATA
More than 35 years after novelist Yukio Mishima committed ritual suicide, protesting in part against what he believed to be the demise of Japan's traditional cultural values, interest in his writing seems to be on the rise among the public.
Soon after the recent two-disc DVD reissue of "Yukoku (Patriotism)," the 1966 film that Mishima produced, wrote and starred in, director/actor Rintaro Haryu now presents two noh plays written by Mishima and given a musical twist. "Mishima × Chopin" will be performed in Tokyo on July 22 and in Sendai on July 25-26.
Brussels-based pianist Goro Yamane will play music by Chopin during the performances of "Yuya" and "Aoi no Ue." The pieces, including Chopin's "Prelude (C-sharp minor)" and "Sonate pour piano No. 2," aim to provide more than musical accompaniment and be as integral to the development of the story as the dialogue of the actors.
Two rising stars in the Japanese opera world, soprano Momoko Yuasa and baritone Daisuke Oyama, will sing and act in the plays.
In addition to using Chopin-penned music, Haryu, who directs and acts in the plays, will also incorporate his own compositions.
"Yuya" is a play that starts off seriously enough but soon turns into a comedy, centered around a mistress and her lover. "Aoi no Ue" is based on an episode from "The Tale of Genji" and follows the spirit of spurned lover Yasuko Rokujo.
"Mishima × Chopin" is performed on July 22 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Sogetsu Hall, Sogetsu Kaikan, 7-2-21 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. The theater is a 5-minute walk from Exit 4, Aoyama-Itchome subway station on the Ginza Line.
Tickets are 5,000 yen at the door or 4,500 yen in advance (call  5093-7698 or  5689-9474). Ticket applications are also accepted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Mishima × Chopin" is then performed on July 25 (7 p.m.) and July 26 (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.) at L-park Park Sendai Studio Hall, 4-11-1 Ichiban-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai. Call (022) 256-1000 for more information.