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Wed 30 Sep 2015, 6:00pm
Thu 1 Oct 2015, 6:00pm

Where: Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Cnr Bridge & Macquarie Streets, Sydney CBD, New South Wales

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adults: $65.00
  • Concession: $45.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: vimandzest

Witness the world premiere of Oppenheimer - a Japanese Noh play in English – in the 70th anniversary year of Hiroshima. The ghost of Robert J Oppenheimer, the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ – is redeemed in an exciting performance in the exquisite Noh tradition of mask, music and dance in Sydney on 30 September & 1 October.

Oppenheimer by Prof Allan Marett is a Noh play in English. It traces the journey of American scientist, Robert J Oppenheimer, often called the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in the Manhattan Project, as he is transformed from an agent of death and destruction into an agent of liberation and healing.

Noh is a traditional Japanese theatrical form and one of the oldest surviving theatrical forms in the world. In Noh drama, agents of suffering first appear trapped in the form of a ghost and then in the course of the play attain liberation. In Oppenheimer, the ghost is physicist Robert J Oppenheimer, who, tormented by the horrible consequences of his action in developing the atomic bomb, is condemned to return each year to Hiroshima, confront his guilt and suffer the agonies that his weapon caused.

Oppenheimer was written by Emeritus Professor Allan Marett (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), composed by Professor Richard Emmert (Musashino University, Tokyo), directed and choreographed by master actor-teacher Akira Matsui of the Kita School of Japanese classical Noh theatre. The principal performers include both Japanese professionals and Japanese-trained members of the Theatre Nohgaku. The performance will feature classical and new masks made by master mask-maker Kitazawa Hideta.

“Although the conventions of Noh will be somewhat unfamiliar to Australian audiences, the beauty of its costumes, masks, music and dance speaks directly across the cultural divide,” says Professor Allan Marett.

“Moreover, all of us live in the shadow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So far, these are the only occasions when a nuclear weapon has been used on a human population, but it won’t be the last. How do we deal with this legacy?” he adds.

“In Japan, there has never been a piece presented like the new English Noh play Oppenheimer,” says Akira Matsui, director and choreographer of Oppenheimer.

“I believe that such a performance should not only take place in Sydney but also in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki … I am truly looking forward to having it translated into Japanese and performed as a Noh play in Japan.”