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Culture news, 26.03.2004 11:38

Two celebrated shows from the Noh classical Japanese repertoire to be shown in St. Petersburg

Noh theatre The extensive program of events for the "Year of Japan" wraps up this weekend, when the renowned theatrical troupe Hakusyokai will perform two celebrated shows from the Noh classical Japanese repertoire at the Mariinsky Theater.

"Sumidagawa" (Curlew River) shows on Saturday, March 27, while "Funa Benkei" (In the Boat) will be performed on Sunday, March 28. Traditionally for Noh, every show is preluded by a short and light theatrical exercise, the "Kyogun." Almost fifty actors from Hakusyokai troupe will be involved in the two productions.

The actors represent the Kanze school and are led by venerable performer Sakai Otoshige, who possesses an official status granted by the Japanese government as a sort of "living national treasure."

The "Year of Japan" began in April last year. "The opening ceremony for the festival was held in St. Petersburg and was attended by Yano Tetsuro, senior vice-minister for foreign affairs of Japan," Komatsu Ichiro, director-general of the European Affairs Bureau in the Japanese foreign ministry told Look Japan magazine. The festival has encompassed more than 100 events all over Russia. Highlights in St. Petersburg included a performance by the NHK Symphony Orchestra in April at the Shostakovich Philharmonic and a Noh performance by Umewaka Rokuro and his company at Smolny Cathedral in May.

The Noh performances at the Mariinsky round out the festival along with a special concert in the Small Hall of the Philharmonic on Monday which blends Japanese poetry and sentimental Russian "romances." Young soloists from the Mariinsky Theater Academy will perform Japanese poems set to music by Russian and Japanese composers, while Masabumi Tanaka's song cycle "100 Poems for 100 Poets" will receive its St. Petersburg premiere.

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