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Ayako Takahashi

For Ayako Takahashi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Paris-based Oida still lives out his dreams

Jul 30, 2014

Paris-based Oida still lives out his dreams

Yoshi Oida has appeared in many works by the famed Paris-based English director Peter Brook, and in 2013 the Japanese actor who has, like him, also lived in the City of Light for more than four decades, was made a Commander of the Order ...

High-energy Ono conducts a rare 'Hoffmann' critique

Jul 2, 2014

High-energy Ono conducts a rare 'Hoffmann' critique

He is known best for the rapturously hysterical “Infernal Gallop” (aka “The Can-can”) from his 1858 operetta “Orpheus in the Underworld,” but the German-born, naturalized-French composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-80) is credited with just one full-length, serious opera — “The Tales of Hoffmann” — which ...

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

Jun 4, 2014

Roberta Marquez: a Juliet to die for

The Royal Ballet, generally considered to be the best classical company in the world, numbers some 100 dancers from teens of countries who are based at its magnificent and newly refurbished Opera House home in London. Among those, Brazilian-born Roberta Marquez has been dazzling ...

Fast lane awaits kabuki actor's bold lead debut

Apr 30, 2014

Fast lane awaits kabuki actor's bold lead debut

Some roles demand quick changes of clothes or character, but in the whole wide world of theater, “Haji Momiji Ase no Kaomise” (“A Blushing Maple Perspires in Public”) — aka “Date no Juyaku” (“The 10 Roles of the Date House”) — is probably the ...

Noh master Gensho appears to know no bounds on stage

Apr 16, 2014

Noh master Gensho appears to know no bounds on stage

Noh is a performing art originally developed by and for the samurai class that has continued without a break for 700 years — a mighty span through which Umewaka Rokuro Gensho, as the 56th-generation head of the Rokuro Umewaka family, can trace his lineage. ...

Opening-night thrills with the NNTB

Apr 2, 2014

Opening-night thrills with the NNTB

Although ballet-goers in Japan tend to prefer narrative works, the trio of edgy and abstract pieces from the 20th century to the present showcased last week by the New National Theatre Ballet (NNTB) may well have some revising their preferences. Titled “Symphony in Three ...

Olé! A 'Carmen' supreme

Jan 29, 2014

Olé! A 'Carmen' supreme

The heroine of French composer Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” is one of the most famous roles in opera, but it’s also one of the most difficult of all to carry off well. An artist playing the ill-fated gypsy seductress in this 1875 masterpiece must be ...

Komanosuke Takemoto: a rare voice of tradition

Jan 22, 2014

Komanosuke Takemoto: a rare voice of tradition

The traditional performing art of bunraku (ningyō jōruri) involves three puppeteers together operating a cast of single puppets, with a gidayū bushi to the side comprising a story-teller (tayū) and a shamisen player (shamisen- hiki) seated on a round platform (yuka). Originally, the gidayū ...

Bunraku storyteller speaks out

Dec 4, 2013

Bunraku storyteller speaks out

During the early part of the Edo Period, when Japan was ruled by Tokugawa shoguns from 1603-1867, Osaka — the main city in the Kansai region of western Honshu — thrived as the country’s cultural and economic center. It was during those heady days ...

An audience with Sylvie Guillem

Nov 13, 2013

An audience with Sylvie Guillem

There are many wonderful ballet dancers the world over, but Sylvie Guillem is undoubtedly in a category of her own — and not only because of her famously self-willed ways. Born in Paris in February 1965, in 1984, Guillem — whose first love as ...