Artists have long mined older works to create new forms of expression, just look at the continuing relevance of Shakespeare’s stories.

Among the oldest surviving performing arts of Japan, noh has been a source of inspiration for many in Japan. Combining narrative chanting, slow movements and minimal instrumental accompaniment, the art form has been remarkably resistant to change throughout its 650-year-history. It has thus had tremendous influence on other art forms here, such as kabuki. It has had some impact overseas as well. For example, English composer Benjamin Britten was inspired to compose his 1964 opera “Curlew River” based on the noh play “Sumidagawa.”

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