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date: 22 November 2019

Kinkakuji [ The Golden Pavilion; Der Tempelbrand ]locked

  • Masakata Kanazawa

Extract

[ The Golden Pavilion; Der Tempelbrand ]

Opera in three acts by Toshirō Mayuzumi to a libretto in German by Claus H. Henneberg after a novel by Yukio Mishima; Berlin, Deutsche Oper, 23 June 1976.

The action takes place in Kyoto, Japan, in the 1940s. Mizoguchi (baritone) is a young priest at the Kinkakuji, a temple in Kyoto. His deformed hand has marked him for life and, disturbed in mind, he reflects on his past. In Act 1 he recalls his devout father (tenor) and adulterous mother, and also the time when his father took him to the temple to make him a disciple of Abbot Dōsen (bass). Still he cannot find peace of mind, and he remains apathetic even at his father’s death and when spoken to by his friend Tsurukawa (baritone). In Act 2 he is forced by an American GI to kick a pregnant prostitute (contralto), causing her to miscarry, then denies the deed to Tsurukawa. Kashiwagi (tenor), another friend, tells him that all values are changeable and that it is possible to find pleasure in destruction and ridicule of beauty. He turns his own girlfriend over to Mizoguchi. In Act 3 Mizoguchi hopes to be destroyed with the temple by a typhoon, but it leaves both of them unharmed. He is elected to succeed Abbot Dōsen, but the ceremony holds no meaning for him, and Abbot Dōsen is found to be dishonourable. After reading letters by Tsurukawa, who has killed himself, and recalling in visions all the people and events of his past, Mizoguchi realizes that only his own actions can change the pattern of his life. He decides to set fire to the Golden Pavilion. ...

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