"I am a cat. As yet I have no name." So begins the first and most famous novel by Soseki Natsume, and a text beloved by generations of Japanese. Now that story, read countless times by young and old alike, is coming to the stage in the form of an opera by composer Hikaru Hayashi. The opera entitled I Am a Cat , will premiere at the new National Theater in Shibuya ward, Tokyo on Feb. 21.
Soseki's novel, which was first published in 1905, is essentially a commentary of the upper-middle class during Japan's Meiji Era. At its core it is a satirical commentary on the feudalistic war mongering of Pre-modern Japan. Yet it remains a humorous and enchanting tale of the world as seen through the eyes of a cat with no name, and as such has retained its popularity and vitality.
The opera utilizes parts of Soseki's original text, which is sung, as well as parts of the famous antiwar song Kimi Shinitamo Koto Nakare (God Forbid That You Should Die) by Akiko Yosano. The libretto is by Hayashi. Stars include Keiko Takeda, Takao Imura and Misako Aoki.
The show will be at the New National Theater from Feb. 21- 28 at 7 PM. On Feb 22, 25, and 28 there will be matinee performances at 2 PM. Tickets are ¥5,000. For more inf. call (03) 3412-7202
--By Carter Witt