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Schisma Opera

The opera Schisma takes place in 19th century Japan. It is an opera in the truest sense, about love - unrequited love, broken love, and impossible love. Yet, it is an opera like no other. Schisma is a historical opera, and yet so current that it almost burns your fingers.


Schisma is based on a true story. In 1823, the scientist Philipp Franz Von Siebold becomes the first Westerner to be granted permission by the Japanese Emperor to study the country’s flora and fauna. On his expedition, which starts from the island of Schisma, he falls in love with the Japanese woman Sonogi, with whom he has a child. The couple’s love story goes awry when Von Siebold sends a shipment of artifacts back to Europe by ship. Before the ship can leave Nagasaki Bay, a storm breaks out and the ship is thrown onto the rocks. An unknown informant tips off the authorities to inspect the cargo, and they find a map of Japan. Possessing a map was tantamount to espionage and carried the death penalty. Someone had betrayed Von Siebold. He is separated from his wife and child and expelled from the country. It takes thirty years before they see each other again.



This opera has reached the next preparatory phase after almost ten years of intensive preparation focused on history, Japanese culture, and traditional Japanese music. Despite various preview concerts having taken place in Japan and the Netherlands, the artistic process for completing this monumental work is not yet finished.


"It's truly fascinating how a concert production can be so demanding, and how it seems to impose its own set of laws and rules on us, as its creators."

Due to the unusual fusion of instruments and Japanese and Western cultural elements, the beauty of this opera is incomparable to any other.


We are excited to announce soon which co-producing parties, artistic team, and performing artists will be involved in bringing this opera to life.


In the story of this opera, as well as in the music, various Japanese and Western elements have been blended together to create a new language. Most notably, the use of silence derived from the Japanese concept of 'MA', negative space. MA will be performed as a character in its own right.

The instrumentation of the Schisma opera comprises a Western orchestra supplemented by traditional Japanese instruments such as the Koto, Shamisen, Sho and Shakuhachi.

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