RASHOMON: the opera
for 5 singers, choir & computer
(1995/99)
Music: Alejandro Viñao
Libretto: Craig Raine

Rashomon: the Opera is based on a short story by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

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Total duration: 60'

A synopsis of the story.

The basic plot is simple to tell.
A bandit lures a couple into a thick grove. He overpowers the husband (a samurai), ties him up, and rapes the wife in front of him. The husband is subsequently killed and the bandit is arrested. The husband's body is found by a woodcutter. The wife and the couple's horse disappears. Subsequently all involved in the events narrate their different and incompatible versions of the story.
The arrested bandit and the woodcutter give their testimonies before a High Police Commissioner. The wife re-appears in a temple to confess her version to a monk. Even the dead husband is called to give evidence through a medium. As the different versions of the events are heard it becomes clear that they are all incompatible and yet they have one point in common: all the characters , except the woodcutter, claim to have killed the husband. Even the husband claims to having killed himself.

Rashomon was commissioned by ZKM for the opening of their new building in Karlsruhe, Germany, in October 1997

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