The new opera Die Judith von Shimoda composed by Fabián Panisello with a libretto by Juan Lucas receives its World Premiere at Bregenzer Festspiele on August 17. Walter Kobéra will be conducting the Wiener Kammerchor and the amadeus ensemble-wien, with Carmen C. Kruse responsible for the direction.
Die Judith von Shimoda is co-commissioned and co-produced by Bregenzer Festspiele and Neue Oper Wien.
The libretto is based on the play Nyonin Aishi. Akichi Monogatari (Tragedy of a Woman. The Story of Okichi the Foreigner) by Yamamoto Yūzō from 1929 in the adaptation by Bertolt Brecht and Hella Wuolijoki.
Yūzō tells the story of the first American consul to arrive in Shimoda, Japan, in 1856, who is angered that he cannot get a native servant and threatens to have the town shelled. The geisha Okichi agrees to serve him to save her hometown. She is then ostracized for her association with the foreigner, lapses into alcoholism and becomes a geisha again.
Brecht saw in this the potential for “a Japanese Judith”, referring to the biblical figure of Judith and thus emphasizing society’s responsibility for Okichi’s development.
The premiere is followed by another performance in Bregenz taking place on August 19, and 4 performances in Vienna from November 2 to 9.