Celebrating to start the Games
The world's first stage performance fusing the intangible eastern and western cultural assets of kabuki and opera.
The first theme is “Celebrating the Start of the Games”, which in April 2020 will kick off. The stage on which the performances will take place will feature different aspects of “integration and coexistence between western and eastern cultures and a comparison between the traditional and the modern” – a new cultural initiative that will remain as a legacy after the Games. In this programme, one of Japan’s most famous Kabuki actors, Ichikawa Ebizo XI, and the Maestro Plácido Domingo will collaborate on stage together in Tokyo.
Ichikawa Ebizo Ⅺ
- It is an honour and a privilege to be given an opportunity to take part in this exciting performance celebrating the opening of the TOKYO 2020 NIPPON FESTIVAL. I’ve always believed that in addition to 2020 being a sports festival, it is also a great occasion to present the beauty and grandeur of Japanese culture to the world. Above all, we will attempt a new performance which combines kabuki and opera together with the world-renowned opera singer Plácido Domingo. Kabuki and opera may seem very different at first glance, but these performing arts have a lot of similarities, including their origins and historical backgrounds. I look forward to seeing what we will be able to create for the event. It is indeed my wish for many of you to join us in this special celebration in April 2020.
- Ebizo was born in Tokyo, the eldest son of Ichikawa Danjūrō XII. His debut performance was in 1983 where he played the role of “Togu” (emperor) in “The Tales of Genji.” In 1985 he received the Kabuki stage name of Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII for his performance as “Kikanbo” in “Uiro-uri” at the Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo. In 2004 he received his current stage name, Ichikawa Ebizo XI. He is the eleventh holder of the Ebizo name which has been passed down through the Ichikawa family since the early Edo period.
Hoping to reintroduce the value of traditional Japanese arts to future generations, he produces his own shows including “ABKAI” and “An Invitation to the Classics”. He also performed at the Theatre National de Chaillot in Paris in 2004. His other overseas performances have included London and Amsterdam (2006), Paris (2007), Monaco (2009), London and Rome (2010), Singapore (2014, 2015), the United Arab Emirates (2016), and New York (2016). In 2006, he was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award, and in 2007 he was awarded the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French nation.
Ebizo was also nominated for the Best Actor Award at the 37th Japanese Academy Awards in 2014 for his performance in “Ask This of Rikyu”. He is also a member of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for Culture and Education. In May 2020, he will succeed the stage name Ichikawa Danjuro Hakuen as the thirteenth holder, which has similarly been inherited through generations since the early Edo period.
- I have never imagined that my stage performances over the years would bear fruit in the form of a new kabuki performance. This performance will be a special cultural event commemorating the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and I am proud and honoured to have the opportunity to perform on that stage. I look forward to performing with the young kabuki star Ebizo, and I hope to learn from him the basics of kabuki acting. I’ve always loved Japan and its cultural background. I couldn’t help admiring the unique ties that Japanese people have built between art and beauty. I am therefore honoured to be a part of Japanese culture, even though it may be for just one night.
- A worldwide performer of many talents, Domingo is considered to be one of the greatest opera singers of all time. He is also an orchestra conductor and the general director of the Los Angeles Opera, and is one of the most important figures in the history of opera. He was also the distinguished director of the 100 year anniversary performance at the Arena di Verona.
He has performed over 148 roles in over 3,900 performances, a record other opera singers struggle to match. In his decades-long recording career, he has won 12 Grammy Awards and performed in over 50 films. He also starred in three of the biggest operatic films: “Carmen” directed by Francesco Rosi, and “La Traviata” and “Otello” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. For over 10 years from 1990, he performed as one of The Three Tenors alongside José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, contributing to the inspiration of a new generation of opera fans. Since 1993 he has hosted Operalia, The World Opera Competition. He is also active in developing the careers of young artists through programmes such as the Los Angeles Young Artist Program and the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo.
- Around April 2020 (to be held as the kick-off event for the programme)
- Scheduled to be in Tokyo
* Details to be announced at a later date