The End. The First Vocaloid Opera

Last week I joined a friend to go to the Holland Festival 2015, which is running from May 31-June 23 in Amsterdam.

Since 1947 the Holland Festival is the leading international performing arts festival in the Netherlands. The festival offers a broad scope of international performing arts with a mix of performances and concerts from all corners of the world. The festival features established names as well as new talent, showing innovation in art and exploring new types of venue and forms of theatre.

We watched the Japanese artist Keiichiro Shibuya (1973) featuring Hatsune Miku in his creation The End, the first Vocaloid opera – an opera without an orchestra or human vocalist, constructed from multi-screen 3D images and electronic sound.

It was an extraordinary event, as I had never seen one like that before. 

As we waited for the performance to start, some girls walked by us, dressed like the Hatsuni MIku, the main character of the opera. If I had no expectations, by then I got very curious.


As we sat at the opera hall, I observed many more youngsters dressed in the same way. The lights went off and the music started. Then I saw that others had colorful neon wands in their hands as well as in their hair.

The opera begun. The only performers on stage were Hatsune Miku (a hologram with a heart-shaped face, large eyes and long turquoise hair down to her hips), an animal character (virtual as well), and – the only living human – Keiichiro Shibuya, the musician.

Hatsune Miku begins her journey by asking herself: ‘will I die?’ For, in spite of the special Louis Vuitton designed outfits, she is not a real human being, but originates from voice synthesizer software by Japanese company Crypton Future Media. Travelling through a virtual world, accompanied by Shibuya’s score of minimal techno and EDM, modern and contemporary classical music and sound art, she goes in search of the paradox of her own existence.

We sat there for over one hour, speechless. The combination of loud music and a sometimes convoluted dialogue, seemed to provoke a powerful and hypnotic effect in the audience. It is not like anything you and I have ever watched.

I admit that there were very deep lines about death and existence that made me sad for the character. You cannot but think of what is said and ponder for some minutes.

In Hatsune Miku search for answers, one can clearly feel how deeply affected Keiichiro had been by the death of his (human) girlfriend in 2008. She was a model, and like him, also a DJ. They created electronic music together and following her death he found difficult to continue. He could only play piano. And it was when he launched his first CD with piano music dedicated to her, that it became his greatest success.

FullSizeRender-5It felt very bizarre when the performance ended and the hologram and main character Hatsuni Miku, appeared on-screen, bowing to the audience, in standing ovation.

Next we saw Keiichiro and two more people joining the stage to thank the audience. Remarkable.

You may not know but his electronic music has reached a large audience in Japan and he is a pop star, performing sold-out 3D concerts around the world.

IMG_3659

Hatsune Miku is possibly Japan’s greatest pop star boasting over two and a half million Facebook friends and singing an incredible repertoire of more than 100,000 user-released songs.

Her concerts are big events, with fans lighting up sold out stadiums as they wave their ‘magic wands’.

Keiichiro Shibuya is surely pioneering a new form of art, and surprising the world, together with Hatsune Miku, the main star in the first vocaloid opera in History: The End.

I may still prefer to watch a classic opera, but I cannot deny that this was a worthy experience.

This little story goes to my Day 4, at 5 stories, 5 photos, as challenged by blogger friend Jo at Restless Jo. Please check her blog. She is adorable. How about traveling the word with her without leaving your house?


I am also posting for the Photo101 Rehab, the event for everyone who loves photography (hobbyists, amateurs, pro-shooters, or just curious , anyone is welcome), and wants to join a community of like-minded people, who are also fun to connect with.

Want to know how to join? Check below.

Here is what ‘The Clinic Photo Rehab is:

This blog hosted ‘The Photo101 Rehab Clinic’ from 04 to 31 December 2014 and featured over 170 photos made by Photobloggers Andy Townend, Mara Eastern, Cardinal Guzman, DesleyJane, Justine, Amy, Teresa, Albert, Terri, Giving Thought, Ellen, Nalinki, Mariangeles, DwayCrafts, Lucy, Terri, Bampa’s Views, PeaceCrafting, Dreaming of Leaving and Project Easier.

As former patients informed me that the withdrawal symptoms remained active, and new patients recognized the same symptoms, The Clinic – Photo Rehab  reopened its doors.

You can do a self-examination. If you detect any of the following symptoms, as carefully described by Albert from the blog Passionately Curious, come and join us: “Withdrawal symptoms may include the incessant need to carry your camera everywhere with you, the need to wake up in the wee hours to take photos during the golden hour, and checking up on others you met during the course to see what their newfound knowledge has brought fruit to.”

How to join: Shoot a photo. Prepare your post. Remember to Pingback to this post and to use the tag #PhotoRehab so that we can find your post in the WP reader. Add your photo to the link provided below. In this way, you expose your photo to the other participants and the audience of the Photo Rehab.

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Who can join: Anyone can join; and not only former Photo 101 bloggers. All you need is passion. Passion to speak up through images – or words, if you may want to add your thoughts to it as well – showing what you see and how much that is important to you.

Thanks for joining and enjoy it.

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Even if you don’t want to join in, click above and appreciate the beautiful photos of the former and current participants. Go and check their wonderful blogs as well:

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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate slave, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do, when I want.

27 thoughts on “The End. The First Vocaloid Opera

  1. Far out. I was so intrigued by your story of Keiichiro and your experience that i went googling about him. I was watching a sneak of this performance on youtube and it made my iphone crash for the very first time. This vocaloid opera stuff is powerful. LOL

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      1. Oh my! Didn’t think it would be that deafening. I never checked it again after that first crash!! Lol. Judging by your reaction i probably dont need to. Haha

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  2. Far out indeed. That’s extraordinary. I know that this type of music and performance is big in Japan but I didn’t realize the extent. I love the art filter on the costume photos – perfect for the scene 😄

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  3. You are intent on broadening my horizons and I love it 🙂 More Googling to do! I seem to have overly full days right now but I’m sure I’ll find a lull soon. Many thanks for your kind reference and the link 🙂

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  4. Such an interesting performance! Your description of it is so vivid..I felt as if I were there. I can imagine that this was a very unique experience. I appreciated seeing all your photos, especially the last photos of the stage so I could get an idea as to what the theatre looked like…Isn’t it amazing the different forms of expression that artists create?!
    Thank you for sharing this innovative artist and opera with us!

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    1. Lia, I am very pleased that you enjoyed this post. It was pleasure to share it. I was so impressed with the novel form of expression that I needed to share it with all of you.
      I am glad you liked the photos because that was my intention, to use them to help you all visualizing what happened there.
      Thanks my dear for visiting this blog and always bringing insightful and lovely comments.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Then you would have loved this opera. I like electronic music too but this opera was way too loud. I was a bit deaf when it finished. Lol
      Considering the main character being a hologram, I felt like playing with editing to match it. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey there.
    I was wondering if anyone knows what needs to be done and who to speak to in order to screen it publicly. Any help or info will be appreciated.

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