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World Premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Erdbeben. Träume in Stuttgart

Jul. 11, 2018

World Premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's <em>Erdbeben. Träume</em> in Stuttgart

On July 1, Oper Stuttgart presents the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa's Erdbeben. Träume, led by conductor Sylvain Cambreling and director Jossi Wieler. This opera, with a libretto by Marcel Beyer, is based on Heinrich von Kleist‘s novella The Earthquake in Chili: a parable about an unfounded human race which turns the earth into hell whilst at the same time passing on the endangered species.

Hosokawa describes his work:

"There is narrow bridge-like section called Hashigakari in Noh theatres, which Noh performers pass through to appear on the main stage. Many Noh stories are out of the ordinary, dream stories, and the main actor (Shite) acts as a ghost, and passes through that “bridge” to go on the stage. There, the main actor (Shite) narrates, sings and dances about the sorrow or regrets he/she experienced when alive. By having a second performer acting in the role of a priest listening, the deep-rooted delusion of the Shite can be freed, and he/she is able to return to the other world by passing through the “bridge” once again...

Like the “Hashigakari,” music is the aural “bridge” that connects this world and the other world, dreams and reality. To experience music may mean to enter a tunnel of sounds of this “bridge.” My mission as a composer may be to create a tunnel of sounds connecting dreams and reality, the “Hashigakari of sounds.”

[The child protagonist of this opera] goes on a journey of initiation to find out where he came from. Erdbeben. Träume is this aural, visual journey. This journey of initiation is safe by no means. There awaits the violence of nature (earthquake and tsunami) and the potential for human violence. On the other hand, there is a love story of the child's parents and the solidarity of mankind…

My method of composing has always been to listen to a certain sound deeply, go into that sound, and listen to its inner sounds. In this opera, you could follow the transition of one of the inner sounds. Its continuation is a tunnel of sounds that keep on changing in kaleidoscopic ways… I wish for the audience to join in this aural journey of initiation…and pass through the Hashigakari of sounds where characters come and go between dreams and reality."

Listen to Toshio Hosokawa's Landscape II (1992) here:

(Landscape II/Toshio Hosokawa/Kaoru Nakayama, harp/Arditti Quartet)

To learn more about Toshio Hosokawa, please visit

Toshio Hosokawa
Erdbeben.Traüme (2017-2018)
Opera in one act
Libretto by Marcel Beyer
based on "Das Erdbeben von Chili" by Heinrich von Kleist
2S, Mz, T, 2Bar
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