"Have you ever done music for a piece with plot which is already written?" Jo asked me as we were relaxing in his hotel room. Sawako was stretching and hopping around.
"Yes, I have" I replied, although I didn’t know why he asked me that question.
"I even have written music for someone who had a very clear idea in her and gave me her ‘score’ with all the beat the bars and the bangs I had to put in the music", I continued.
"It must be a terrible compromise "he said pensively.
"It’s also a challenge, to still be myself within a limited frame."
Jo had a project to stage The Tales of Hoffmann for dance. He thought of using Offenbach’s music but the idea of asking me to do something occured to him. He didn’t dare to think that I would accept such a project. The premiere was scheduled for next July. Half a year was a short time to write quite a fair amount of music.
But I accepted. How could I miss an opportunity to work with Jo again?
I discarded the idea of using Offenbach's music. I didn’t want to compete with such a famous score. And the story is an open door to imagination and offers many possibilities. The project was exciting and frightening also. I was wondering what I would do, whether I would rise up to the challenge. The same feeling I had before starting work on PLAY 2 PLAY. Only an hour before, I was telling Jo how I was looking forward to work with him again. We only had to find the right project.
Earlier one this year, Jo had been commissioned to stage an opera for a theatre in the south of Japan. After studying and watching a few of them he picked Offenbach’s swan song. But the project failed through.
Yet he still liked the idea and kept the idea of working on a subject that was not his own with the plot already written.
We brainstormed for a while and got more and more excited as ideas came out of our mind.
It was settled! I was to work with Jo again on The Tales of Hoffmann.
The date of the premiere coincided with my birthday. I had this wish to celebrate my 40th birthday not with party but with a creation. My wish was granted!
Now as write this diary entry, my mind is boiling up.
The press conference for NINA took place in a large salon inside the National Theatre. It was a quiet and rather stiff affair. FangYi was to conduct the interview. We said that it would be nice to all speak in English. But for some reason they all ended up speaking in their respective tongue.
I said my lines about the creative process, my collaboration with Jo etc… Seeing Jo and Sawako was the chief reason. We were trying hard to keep our poise and a serious appearances but we al felt like blowing the house down and telling nonsense.
|Sawako, me and FangYi|
|With FangYi, Sawako and Jo at the press conference|