note to a friend

January 12, 2023-January 15, 2023
past event image


note to a friend

Thursday, January 12, 7:30 pm — Followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception
Saturday, January 14, 7:30 pm — Followed by an artist Q&A
Sunday, January 15, 3 pm

In response to Japan Society’s commission for a new chamber opera, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang combined and reimagined three texts by iconic Japanese novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The result is this stunning and haunting monodrama, note to a friend, addressing our eternal human fascination with death, love, family and suicide. Theater luminary Yoshi Oida, Paris-based opera director and longtime member of Peter Brook’s international theater company, directs this world premiere for the legendary New York vocalist Theo Bleckmann. Tokyo Bunka Kaikan in Japan, co-producer of this production, selects the featured string quartet members. You can’t miss this meetup of international gems!

Tickets: $60 / $48 members

This co-production from Japan Society and Tokyo Bunka Kainan, commissioned and presented by Japan Society, makes its world premiere as part of PROTOTYPE Festival 2023.

David LangYoshi OidaTheo Bleckmann

For the health and safety of our staff and visitors, we kindly ask that you please review our Visitor Policies and Safety Protocols.

Content Warning: This production contains references to suicide and depression, which some audiences may find distressing. If you need suicide or mental health-related crisis support, or are worried about someone else, please call or text 988 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Japan Society is pleased to present a series of programs celebrating the life and work of the prolific Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa, also known as “the father of the Japanese short story.” From a newly commissioned opera investigating the literary icon’s final letters before his suicide in 1927 to traditional Japanese puppetry (kuruma ningyo) and Akira Kurosawa’s landmark 1950 film Rashomon—the following programs reimagine and readapt Akutagawa’s best-known works, offering an intimate window into the mind of one of the most widely translated Japanese writers in the world.

Images: David Lang © Peter Serling; Yoshi Oida © Sébastien Coindre; Theo Bleckmann © Lynne Harty. Illustration by Ben Warren © Japan Society.

note to a friend is co-produced with Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and is supported by Doug and Teresa Peterson, with special cooperation from The Japan Foundation, New York. This project is presented by Japan Society as part of PROTOTYPE Festival 2023.

Additional support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

2022-23 Performing Arts Season Support
Lead Sponsor
The season is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Major support is generously provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation and Doug and Teresa Peterson. Endowment support is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with a leadership gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional support is provided by Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II, Dr. Jeanette C. Takamura, Estate of Alan M. Suhonen, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, Nancy and Joe Walker, Dr. John K. Gillespie, Paula S. Lawrence, Hiroko Onoyama, Lyndley and Samuel Schwab, and Nora and David Tezanos.

Transportation assistance is provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society. MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception is provided by MetLife Foundation. Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and Shiseido Americas.
  • January 12, 2023 January 14, 2023 January 15, 2023
  • 7:30 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Timed Tickets
  • $60 Regular price
  • $48 Member price