New York Arts
Hagoromo - a Dance/Opera Premiered at BAM, November 3, 2015
29 Dec 2015
One event among those I attended stood out, because of the particular excitement of the capacity audience: the world premiere of Hagoromo, a multi-media work combining dance, puppetry, singing, and instrumental performance—all so artfully combined that the rest of the theatrical ensemble, sets, lighting, and costume, sprang into life in a rare way.
Wall Street Journal
'Hagoromo' Review: A Study in Slowing Down
10 Nov 2015
“Hagoromo,” conceived and directed by Mr. Michalek, recently had its run as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. The program takes inspiration from a 16th-century Japanese Noh drama—a theatrical form known for its masked characters performing at a restrained pace—about a heavenly spirit who loses a magical, feathered robe. The spirit, dubbed an angel in this synopsis, descends to earth to plead with a poor fisherman to return the enchanted garment he’s found.
Broadway World
Hagoromo Meditates on the Contrasts Between Heaven and Earth
9 Nov 2015
Rich in history and antiquated opulence, the BAM Harvey served as the ideal theater for David Michalek's imaginative Hagoromo, the world premiere of a multi-medium artistic portrait of self-proclaimed "Sky, Earth, World, Flesh". A venue rooted to its past with an aesthetic that looks toward the future, Hagoromo served the space by exploring the physical and tonal differences between Heaven and Earth.
Hagoromo: a Tale of Heaven and Humanity
8 Nov 2015
When Whelan’s Angel danced wearing the hagoromo she became three separate entities, two of which were puppets. These were molded from Whelan’s body and seemed to carry something essential of her spirit when they moved with her synchronously. The power of those two puppets was such that I quickly forgot about the three black-clad and veiled operators that were required to make each of them dance.
An Ancient Dance Play Meets New Music
7 Nov 2015
David Michalek, who conceived and directed Hagoromo; David Neumann, who choreographed it; Nathan Davis, who wrote the music; and Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto (long-time partners in New York City Ballet), who play the two characters in the story—these and numerous others have together created moments of considerable beauty and imagination.
Fest of Music
"Hagoromo" at Brooklyn Academy of Music
7 Nov 2015
Part theater, part dance, part chamber opera, Hagoromo, which played last week to sold-out houses at BAM’s Harvey Theater, is based on a centuries-old Japanese legend that is a staple of Noh theater. It is a slim story about grand themes, partly about the ephemerality of beauty and art, and partly about the spirituality of the mortal versus the eternal.
The Financial Times
Hagoromo, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York — ‘Rich and seamless’
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5 Nov 2015
The director, David Michalek — perhaps best known for his huge slow-motion photo portraits of dance illuminati, if not for being Whelan’s husband — has seamlessly integrated the worlds of experimental music, dance, theatre, opera, puppetry and fashion into a rich, sober whole, with the only unevenness in the collaborators’ reshaping of Noh to modern western ends.
The New York Times
‘Hagoromo’ Offers More Than Dance at BAM Harvey Theater
4 Nov 2015
“Hagoromo,” however, is more than a dance vehicle. Conceived and directed by David Michalek as a Western music-theater adaptation of a Noh drama, it strongly recalls Benjamin Britten’s superlative “Curlew River,” which was performed in New York (with Ian Bostridge as the madwoman) a year ago as part of the White Light Festival.
The New York Times
Dance This Week: An Eclectic ‘Hagoromo’ and Jérôme Bel’s ‘Ballet (New York)’
3 Nov 2015
The production of “Hagoromo” opening Tuesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music brings together forces from different genres. It’s a Japanese Noh classic reimagined and directed by David Michalek with music by Nathan Davis to a libretto by Brendan Pelsue; there’s choreography by David Neumann, puppetry by Chris M. Green, costumes by Dries Van Noten, a set by Sara Brown, dancing by the former ballerina Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto and singing by the contralto Katalin Karolyi and the tenor Peter Tantsits.
The New Yorker
Goings on About Town
3 Nov 2015
Now freelance, Whelan gets to call the shots. Her latest gig, “Hagoromo,” * is a collaboration with her husband, the visual artist David Michalek, who directs the show at BAM. The story, derived from a popular Noh play, involves an angel who loses her magical garment and the fisherman who finds it. The angel, of course, is Whelan; the fisherman is her longtime N.Y.C.B. partner Jock Soto. The score, by Nathan Davis, is for tenor, mezzo-soprano, and girls’ chorus, backed by the ICE contemporary-music ensemble. David Neumann choreographed the stately, otherworldly movement, and two life-sized doppelgängers of Whelan were created by the Brooklyn-based puppeteer Chris Green.
In Style
Prada and Dries Van Noten Design Epic Theater Costumes
2 Nov 2015

Wendy Whelan Dances in Dries Van Noten in Hagoromo
1 Nov 2015
Created by the artist David Michalek and based on the Noh theater classic, Hagoromo tells the story of an enchanted robe dropped from the Palace of the Moon by a celestial being who must dance for a fisherman to get it back. In keeping with Noh tradition, David Neumann’s choreography is slow, spare, and controlled. “It’s very parallel and it’s very often shuffling. There’s a sort of extended adagio movement standing on one leg,” says Whelan, thin and muscular as ever.
Dance Enthusiast
Wendy Whelan Chats About "Hagoromo"
30 Oct 2015
Soon, audiences will have a chance to see what’s been keeping Michalek, a photographer and videographer, so preoccupied. Hagoromo makes it debut at BAM’s Harvey Theater with a veritable constellation of who’s who in the performing arts. Conceived of and directed by Michalek, this dance-chamber opera headlines Whelan and Soto, both former principal dancers with New York City Ballet.
Blouin Artinfo
Dries Van Noten Designs Costumes for BAM’s Hagoromo
30 Oct 2015
It is also Van Noten’s second collaboration with director David Michalek, as the two worked together on the designer’s retrospective in Paris and Antwerp earlier this year. Drawing from costumes that were traditionally used for this type of performance, as well as the color combinations used for kimono designs, Dries created for former New York City Ballet principal dancers Wendy Whelan and Jack Soto a feather printed costume and a fish-printed outfit, respectively. Meanwhile, all other performers don stark outfits in plain colors to mesh with the raw, minimal set.
W Magazine
Dries van Noten Designs for the Ballet
29 Oct 2015
After collaborating with choreographer David Michalek last year, the designer is working with him again on the dance-chamber opera Hagoromo, directed by Michalek and starring former New York City Ballet principal dancers Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto. Here, van Noten talks about the project.
The New York Times
‘Hagoromo’ Features Steps Not Found on the Head of a Pin
22 Oct 2015
The puppets and their dance are meant to embody the angel’s aura. They are an apt metaphor for Ms. Whelan, whose own dancing has always had an air of mystery. “There is a principle of Japanese aesthetics called yugen,” Mr. Michalek explained, “like the beauty of a fall evening after a day of working in the fields, with the dust rising all around. It’s a kind of melancholy. Wendy brings yugen to everything she does.”