About Hagormomo


I rediscovered Hagoromo several years ago in a book of Noh plays translated by Ezra Pound. After reading it, I began to imagine how the characters of the Angel and Fisherman, could be uniquely inhabited by the dancers Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto. As Wendy's life partner, I had the privilege to closely watch her now famous partnership with Jock blossom, particularly during the years 2000-2005 when, along with Christopher Wheeldon, they created one remarkable ballet after another. Like the Angel and Fisherman, Jock and Wendy embody elemental opposites: earth and sky, solid assurance and airy grace. It's been an enormous pleasure to witness the rekindling of their unique and special chemistry after a ten-year hiatus.

This project has attempted to bring together dance and live new music, disciplines that rarely meet due to the non-overlapping values of their differing ecosystems. The plan from the beginning, cooked up by International Contemporary Ensemble artistic director, Claire Chase, and myself, was to bring the ensemble and composer Nathan Davis, into direct contact with the dramaturgical and choreographic process and vice-versa. Through this union we are attempting something that feels fresh and new: Chamber Dance/Opera.

I am deeply proud of the artistic and administrative team that has come together around Hagoromo. They are profoundly talented individuals, but also most especially kind. And as the story of Hagoromo tells us, kindness does matter.

At the heart of Hagoromo is a single message: only kindness and compassion can transform greed into giving, and profit into value. Through a poor fishermanís return of a magical Angelís robe, we are reminded that the work of art is a gift and not a commodity.

- David Michalek, 2015

Download the libretto.

Download the scenario.