Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

March 12, 1998

Library of Congress Presents Noh Performance by Houryu-Kai for Cherry Blossom Festival

Houryu-kai, one of Japan's most revered artistic ensembles, will appear at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress for a special performance on Sunday, March 29, at 6 p.m. Washington audiences will be offered a rare opportunity to see an evening-length Noh presentation by Houryu-kai, an internationally recognized troupe of players trained in the Hohshoh School tradition. The company is led by Ryuzoh Tazaki, who was designated one of Japan's "Important Intangible Cultural Assets" in 1991.

The Noh performance is being presented under the auspices of the Music Division and the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the 1998 National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Embassy of Japan. The Coolidge Auditorium is in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, at 10 First Street S.E.

Tickets are required for the performance, and may be obtained for a nominal handling charge of $2 at TicketMaster outlets in the Washington metropolitan area. Tickets are also available by phone, for an additional charge, at the following TicketMaster phone-charge numbers: (301) 808-6900; (410) 752-1200; and (202) 432-SEAT.

The featured work for the Noh performance is Funabenkei (Benkei Aboard Ship), a story about the involuntary separation of Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune, a tragic hero of the late 12th century, from his lover Shizuka-gozen. Benkei, Yoshitsune's retainer, insists that honor dictates that the two must separate, to appease a family conflict with Yoshitsune's brother Yoritomo. After Shizuka's departure, Yoshitsune and his men take to the sea on a voyage of exile. Their ship is attacked by a vengeful warrior ghost from the Taira clan, whom Yoshitsune has vanquished, but Benkei's priestly powers overcome the angry ghost, which fades away into the netherworld.

Also to be presented with Funabenkei is a farce, Kyogen: Fukuro-Tamabushi (The Owl-Mountain Priest) with Ishida Yukio as Shite, a mountain priest; Nomura Mansai as Ado, the big brother; and Ishida Tanro as Koado, the little brother.

The Houryu-kai ensemble's Ryuzoh Tazaki is one of the Noh tradition's most distinguished players. Born in Tokyo in 1949, Mr. Tazaki began his Noh training at the age of 6. At 18 he played his first leading role in Goun-kai and entered the school of Japanese music of Tokyo University, where he later became a visiting lecturer. Mr. Tazaki has appeared before members of Japan's imperial family on many occasions and has performed in countries around the world.

For further information about the Houryu-kai Noh Performance at the Library of Congress, call (202) 707-5502.

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PR 98-043
ISSN 0731-3527

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