KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA

An Opera Performance with the Touching Examination of a Virtual Hero 

‘Will I die too?’ – with this existential question, famous 16 year old anime character Hatsune Miku ‘visited’ Tbilisi in summer. Hatsune Miku, the biggest pop star from Japan, gave rise to the vocaloid culture at home as well as internationally and came into being in ‘The End,’ an innovative, extraordinary, spectacular opera performance of synthesized sounds and digital beats by Keiichiro Shibuya, one of Japan’s renown young composers, DJs and pianists, who presented his performance in the scopes of the SOU Festival in Tbilisi Opera Theater.

‘The End’ was a huge success with Georgian spectators admiring the unusual offbeat performance which is nothing like opera in general, lacking as it does an orchestra and singers and instead offering a virtual, bluehaired girl in costumes by Louis Vuitton, speaking and singing in a synthesized voice to computer programmed music.

When asked why the composer calls his creation ‘the opera,’ Shibuya says that, first of all, this performance is a tragedy which has all the right elements – arias, recitatives, overtures and the structure of an opera.

Keiichiro Shibuya studied at Tokyo University of the Arts, which has produced a number of famous composers, mostly in classical music. But Shibuya went far beyond the boundaries of classical music to create something new and interesting. Consequently, apart from electronic and piano music recordings, his work brings together different and experimental multimedia artforms.

The idea for ‘The End’ was born at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 2012. The center commissioned Shibuya to create a new work and, as the composer said, he was given complete freedom on what to create. So he wrote an opera, creating a sharp contrast to existing music, including operas, and creating some thing contrasting that begged to be noticed… Indeed, ‘The End’ was noticed worldwide and, at present, the digital superstar Hatsune Miku has the lar gest fan community, Georgians among them. 

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