“A Line Becomes a Circle” is a multimedia chamber opera with a libretto based on haiku composed by Miya Masaoka. The opera was commissioned by Circuit Network, which will present its world premiere later this month in association with the Theatre of Yugen. The sources for the libretto are haiku texts written by Masaoka’s distant relative, Masaoka Shiki. The score is a hybrid that combines influences of Buddhist chanting with contemporary modalities and electronic sound sources. The composer recently returned from Japan, where, under the support of a Fulbright Fellowship, she was researching both the Noh approach to musical theater and the shōmyō style of Buddhist chant using a pentatonic scale based on the first five pitches in the circle of fifths, tuned according to the 3:2 ratio of the harmonic series.
The cross-cultural style will best be embodied by the musical resources. The two vocalists will be classical soprano Ann Moss and Makiko Sakurai, a trained shōmyō singer. They will be paired with percussionist Joel Davel and the composer, who will play both koto and electronic gear. The opera is a single act lasting 50 minutes.
There will be two performances, both at 8 p.m. on Monday, September 19, and Tuesday, September 20. These will take place at the Theatre of Yugen at Project Artaud, which is located in NEMIZ (the NorthEast Mission Industrial Zone) at 2840 Mariposa Street, between Alabama Street and Florida Street. General admission will be $15 with a $10 rate for students and those with low income. Those who can afford it are encouraged to pay the “Generous” rate of $25, which subsidizes the discounted ticket option. Tickets may be purchased online in advance from a single Brown Paper Tickets event page with a pull-down menu for selecting the date of performance. Further information may be obtained by calling Circle Network at 415-863-2441.