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Work-In-Progress for Music Theatre Production

chelfitsch & Dai Fujikura with Klangforum Wien


Contemporary Theatre x Contemporary Music = New "Music Theater Production"

How is new "Music Theater Production" born?

This work rests on collaboration between chelfitsch / Toshiki Okada and Dai Fujikura. Okada has attracted great attention inside and outside Japan as one of the leading theatrical companies of the present age, and taken up the challenge of "music theatre" in various forms so far. Fujikura is a world-class composer who won the highest accolades also for his operas. These leading figures in the fields of contemporary theatre and contemporary music are joining hands to create this work, which will debut at Wiener Festwochen in 2023. It will be molded into a new type of "music theatre" based on a completely new relationship and interaction between speech and music. The actors will perform with the music by a technique other than singing, and the music will be a presence detached from expression of sentiments and feelings.
This performance of a work in progress held in November 2021 was present the process of examining and sharing methodology through the staging of a certain scene, and building a foundation for creation by drawing on the results.

Now Open

Basic information of the work

Screening time
Theater Others

Accessibility of this work

  • Audio guide
  • Sign language
  • Barrier-free subtitles
  • Subtitles
  • Multilingual
  • Dubbing
  • Artist’s original barrier-free version
  • Non-verbal

This is the chelfitsch’s first video streaming with audio guide.
We discussed with the discribers of the audio guide how to explain the physical expressions of the actors using chelfitsch’s unique method of “imagination”.


How to switch subtitle languages in the original version (subtitles in other languages/YouTube)
1. Click on the subtitle icon on the video player to turn on subtitles.
2. Click the settings icon on the video player and click “[cc] Subtitles” to select the language.


In 2023, at Wiener Festwochen (Vienna/Austria), an arts festival where all kinds of arts from all over the world gather, the theater company chelfitsch, led by playwright and novelist Toshiki Okada, will present a new music theater in collaboration with Dai Fujikura, a composer based in London. The relationship between theater and music, such as in operas and musicals, usually is created to match the scenes of the story for the purpose of staging the play. However, this time the text and music are not intended to lyrically direct each other, but to renew the relationship between words and music, emphasizing the resonance between the text and the music.

In July 2021, this project,began at exploration of what a “music theater production” might be. The creation was held by remotely connecting Dai Fujikura in London with Toshiki Okada and the actors in Tokyo and composed by Fujikura and written script by Okada in parallel. The results of the workshops held in July and November was presented as a work-in-progress performance at Tower Hall Funabori (Edogawa-ku/Tokyo) on November 5, 2021. In this video, we will deliver the work-in-progress performance and the interview with Okada and Fujikura that took place after the performance.

In the work-in-progress performance, Okada and Fujikura, who is participating remotely from London, will perform a 10-minute scene that was created through the workshop and repeatedly give feedback to develop the scene. The music was performed twice of each: once as a remote collaboration, with a life-size panel showing a recording of a performance by Klangforum Wien, an ensemble in Vienna scheduled to perform together in 2023, and once as a live performance by Ensemble NOMADO and clarinetist Makoto Yoshida. Please enjoy comparing how the actors’ performances change with each music.


Based on a commission from the Wiener Festwochen, chelfitsch and Dai Fujikura are taking up the challenge of creating a “new music theater” in what is their first collaboration with each other. After its premiere in Vienna, the work will tour Europe, followed by performances in Japan in 2024.
This piece was created from a work-in-progress performance.

[Music information]

never given (work in progress) for 5 players – Dai FUJIKURA / 藤倉大 作曲 (2021)
“never given” is a collage by Dai Fujikura created for the theatre project by the composer, using several of his existing compositions. The collaged works include GO, Another Place, Perpetual Spring, Engraving and newly written material.

Message from artist / creator

Written for performance in November 2021.

What sort of meaning, function, role, and phase does music have or play in theatre? There exists a great, perhaps even unlimited, number of options as responses to this question. I would like to stage one of them by collaborative exploration of new territory. To put it simply, I want to put together a new type of music theatre. I am going to join hands with Dai Fujikura, a pliable yet edgy composer, and see how far we can go. Fujikura’s music is very powerful. It is as if the music itself, or maybe even each instrument, is an actor. Therefore, while I still don’t know the final shape at this stage, I picture these music and human actors as playing opposite each other, such that their relationship approaches one of human being and human being rather than human being and music. The newness of “new music theatre” may turn out to be something like this, for example.

Toshiki Okada

Music theatre.
I have thus far written three operas, but this is the first time for me to write a musical theatre piece. Indeed, I do not even know if such a thing exists in the world. It is not the same as what is normally meant by the term “music theatre.”
From age three until I was ten, I took lessons from a theatrical troupe every week. That’s why it brought back a lot of memories to watch the rehearsals every day with the group of actors led by Okada. Needless to say, the actors involved in this music theatre are first-rate.
Because of the pandemic, I will be working at my home in London, and the actors, at the rehearsal space in Tokyo. We will collaborate in putting the music, script, and direction of this work together.
We are into the second year of Covid-19, and the technology too differs from last year. The music I send out from the studio in my room reaches Tokyo in just 0.5 seconds, and with a quality on a par with or better than a compact disk. Through Zoom, I can watch the reaction of the actors to this music, discuss things with Okada, and try different music. Okada’s script similarly changes every day and every session. Day after day, I had the feeling that Okada, I, and the actors were definitely creating the work together every minute, or rather every second.
It may turn out to be a performing arts piece in a genre that is truly without precedent, so much so, that dictionaries will have to add a new term and definition for it.

Dai Fujikura

Artist Profile


The theater company chelfitsch was founded in 1997 by Toshiki Okada, who writes and directs all of its productions. Its activities as “laboratory” , which is continues to constantly update its methodology, which revolves around the relationship between speech and body, and explore new avenues of expression unbound by conventional dramaturgy, attracts keen attention, both inside and outside Japan, as a troupe in the vanguard of contemporary theater. Toshiki is practicing a distinctive methodology for creating plays using “imagination” and the methodology was sometimes even likened to dance. The company made its debut abroad in 2007, when it performed “Five Days in March” at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, Belgium. It has since performed works in a total of more than 90 cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. Recently, it holds theatrical performance/exhibition〈EIZO-Theater〉, which is a new style of drama developed by Okada Toshiki, who works with stage and video designer Yamada Shinpei. 〈EIZO-Theater〉aims to occurs theatrical space by video projection. In 2019-2020, it collaborated with the artist Teppei Kaneuji and produced “Eraser Mountain” at KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2019 and “Eraser Forest” at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. It performed a single artistic concept “deviate from anthropocentrism” in two different types of space. This concept is taken over to this Music Theatre Production.

Toshiki Okada

©Kikuko Usuyama

Born in Yokohama in 1973. Playwright / Director.
He is active both inside and outside Japan not only as chelfitsch but also as individual.
From 2016, he directed works in a repertory program at Münchner Kammerspiele, one of the foremost public theaters in Germany, for four consecutive seasons. In 2022, he directed “Doughnuts” in Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, Germany and he will direct “HVALEN I ROMMET” in National Theatre in Oslo, Norway.
His collection of short stories titled “The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed” was published in February 2007 and awarded the Oe Kenzaburo Prize. “Broccoli Revolution” was awarded the Mishima Yukio Prize in 2022.
Recently he translates Noh, which is the Japanese traditional thater, in modern language and directs the theatrical peice using the format of Noh. One of theatrical peice using the format of Noh, “Unfulfilled Ghost and Monster – ZAHA / TSURUGA” , is themed of Zaha Hadid and power plant for high‐speed breeder “Monju”, is prized The Yomiuri Bungaku-sho (prize for literature) in 2021 and Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Awards in 2022.
In 2021, he directed the opera for the first time in “YUZURU”. He is expanding the range of his works more.

Dai Fujikura

©Yuko Moriyama otocoto

Born in 1977 in Osaka Japan, Dai was fifteen when he moved to UK. The recipient of many composition prizes, he has received numerous international co-commissions from the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, Bamberg Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and more. He has been Composer-in-Residence of Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014 and held the same post at the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France in 2017/18. Dai’s first opera Solaris, co-commissioned by the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Lausanne and the Opéra de Lille, had its world premiere in Paris in 2015 and has since gained a worldwide reputation. A new production of Solaris was created and performed at the Staatstheater Augsburg in 2018. Then in 2018, his second opera, The Gold-Bug, made its world premiere.
In 2017, awarded the Silver Lion Award from the Venice Biennale – an award for groundbreaking composers. Artistic Director since 2017 of the Born Creative Festival at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, a music festival that brings “new sounds” together from around the world.
In 2020, made headlines with the Japan premiere performance of Shamisen Concerto and the worldpremiere performance of his fourth piano concerto Akiko’s Piano, among others.
His works are recorded by and released mainly on his own label Minabel Records in collaboration with SONY Music and his compositions are published by Ricordi Berlin.


Playwright / Director: Toshiki Okada
Composer: Dai Fujikura
Cast: Izumi Aoyagi, Chieko Asakura (absent in work-in-progress), Wataru Omura, Mariko Kawasaki, Ayana Shiibashi, Makoto Yazawa
Music: Klangforum Wien (Video appearance) /Bernhard Zachhuber(Clarinet)Annette Bik、Gunde Jäch-Micko(Violin)Dimitrios Polisoidis(Viola)Benedikt Leitner(Cello)
Makoto Yoshida (Clarinet), Ensemble NOMADO / Wakako Hanada, Shizuka Kawaguchi (Violin) Fumiko Kai (Viola) Yui Hosoi (Cello)


Dramaturge: Masahiko Yokobori
Stage Manager: Daijiro Kawakami
Sound Director: Aki Shiraishi(ISHIMARU-GUMI)
Sound Designer: Nagie
Lighting Director: Masayoshi Takada (RYU)
Video Director: Shimpei Yamada (AOZORA)
Sound Operator: Takayuki Katayama, Shuji Sakai, Keiichi Sawaguchi, Subaru Tanaka
Lighting Operator: Megumi Yamashita, Yukio Yoshida (RYU)
Video Director Assistant: Shiori Saito (AOZORA)
Shooting Director / Editor: Ryohei Tomita
Shooting: Mikihiro Endo, Woomin HYUN, Masanobu Nishino
Photography: Kazuya Kato
Publicity Design: Ryuhei Otake
SNS Publicity: Junko Miyazaki
Publicity Writing: Kenta Yamazaki


Producer: Tamiko Ouki, Megumi Mizuno
Production Manager: Nanami Endo, Yuina Baba
Project Manager: Yuri Saito, Mizuki Tazawa
Production Assistant: Ema Murakami


Presented by The Japan Foundation
Planning and produced by chelfitsch and precog co., LTD.


In co-operation with: OFFICE threeI’s, KAJIMOTO, CUBE Inc., nakagoo, Steep Slope Studio, YAMABUKI FACTORY

(*World premiere will be performed in 2023 commissioned by Wiener Festwochen.)