Skyggen – A Chamber Opera by Aya Yoshida

“Skyggen(The Shadow) – A Chamber Opera by Aya Yoshida” is a collaborative project between artists from Denmark and Japan celebrating the 150th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Denmark-Japan.The Copenhagen-based Japanese composer Aya Yoshida has written the music and libretto for this chamber opera. It is inspired by the original fairy tale “The Shadow (Skyggen)”, written in 1847 by the famous Danish author H.C. Andersen. The visual part of the performance is created by the Danish artist Magnus Pind Bjerre and the Japanese calligrapher Suitou Nakatsuka.The original story “The Shadow” is known as one of the darker fairy tales written by H.C. Andersen. The question of identity and how it is formed is one of the essential themes in this story. Andersen’s ambivalent and problematic relation both to himself and his art has inspired composer Aya Yoshida to write the libretto for the chamber opera.Exploring the space between humans, Aya Yoshida is questioning what is at the core of a human identity. Are we able to define ourselves or are we being defined by social constructions, our social relations and ways of interacting with other people?



  • Aya Yoshida is a Japanese composer, born in Kobe, Japan in 1992. She began composing at the age of 6 and completed a BA Degree in Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo in 2014. The same year she moved to Copenhagen, Denmark to complete her Masters Degree in composition with Niels Rosing Schow and Jeppe Just Christensen.
    Her works have been performed in Japan and Europe by a diverse range of soloists, ensembles and orchestras, including Curious Chamber Players in Finland, Arditti Quartet and Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
    Fashion has always been an important source of inspiration to Aya Yoshida; it’s abstract energy triggers her creativity and transforms it into new images and sounds within her personal universe.
  • Suitou Nakatsuka  is an internationally recognized Japanese calligrapher. Since she started learning classical Japanese calligraphy at the age of 4, she has been deeply fascinated and inspired by this traditional art. The movement and sensation of the ink brush generates her creativity, and the art of calligraphy offers her infinite ways to explore and express herself.
    She won the first prize and Special Recognition Award at “Le Salon 2016 – National Society of Fine Arts” for her exhibition at Carrousel Du Louvre in Paris.
    Her publications include the book series of handwriting practicing: “How To Make Your Handwriting Beautiful in 30 days”, which has been published in more than 3,66 million copies.
  • Magnus Pind Bjerre (1991, Skødstrup, Denmark) is a New York-based artist and designer working with video, performance and visual theater.
    Magnus’ video design has been shown at Vienna State Opera, Royal Danish Theatre, La Monnaie | De Munt National Belgian Opera, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre and many others. His artwork has been exhibited at Transmediale Festival in Berlin, 3LD Art & Technology Center in NYC, CPH:DOX Festival in Copenhagen, Harvard University and the Koncerthuset National Radio Concert Hall of Denmark. His work has been called “magical” and “unbelievably beautiful” by the press.
    Magnus holds a BA from University of Copenhagen, and an MFA from Parsons School of Design, where he currently serves as part-time faculty in the School of Art and Design History and Theory.


Official Support Message from Nicolai Bergmann

As official goodwill ambassador on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and Japan, I have participated in many interesting projects and initiatives in both countries during 2017.
To me the opera “Skyggen” is an outstanding project as it is builds on collaboration between Danish and Japanese artists. As a Danish person residing in Japan for 20 years, I have been working in creative industry which is constantly developing. I deeply admire this kind of cultural and artistic collaboration between two very different cultures and this project is in my opinion a brilliant initiative. Having the opera performed at Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen is something unique and rare opportunity from a Japanese point of view.
I wish you all the best of luck.

― Nicolai Bergmann, Artist and Entrepreneur


Performance Information

Date: 16th and 17th of November 2017
Time: 20:00-21:15 (Doors open at 19:30)
Place: Kulturcentret Assistens
Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N, Tlf. 35 37 19 17
Entry fee: 150 DKK/ Student: 100 DKK

“Skyggen – A Chamber Opera by Aya Yoshida”

The original story:
“Skyggen” (1847) by Hans Christian Andersen

Composer: Aya Yoshida
Calligrapher: Suitou Nakatsuka
Visuals: Magnus Pind Bjerre

Shadow [1st soprano]: Carina Tybjerg Madsen
Human being 1 [2nd soprano]: Anne Sophie Hjort Ullner
Human being 2 [Mezzo]: Svafa þórhallsdóttir
Human being 3 [Alto]: Klara Lucia Thordsen

Conductor: Morten Ryelund
1st violin: Saana Kähkönen
2nd violin: Yuko Yasui
Viola: Jenny Lüning
Cello: Maria Isabel Edlund
Flute: Marie Sønderskov
Clarinet: Natalie Harris
Percussion: Ying-Hsueh Chen

Producer/Performance Director: Aya Yoshida
Librettist: Aya Yoshida/ Shunsuke Sano/ Sosha Teperowska
Dramaturgy: Sosha Teperowska
Lighting designer: Frederik Dahl Hougs
Visual Assistant: Katrine Balle Hvidberg
Costume: Henrik Vibskov
Poster/Program Design: Naoto Oguri
Casting and Creative Director: Louise Gorm
Project Manager: Meimu Tanimoto

Special thanks to:Chihiro Aoyagi/ Erika Kodani/ Fukuyo Oashi/ Gediminas Sudnikavičius/ Rostrup Jensen/ Keiko Kume/ Lucy Yao/ Maya Taneda/ Mika Yasuoka/ Niklas Ottander/ Rikuro Sakaushi/  Satsuki Inoue/ SHIORI/ Tomoko Konae/ Toyoki Adachi/ Yuka Harikai Drejer/ Yuriko Yagi

Project Organization:
NPO Japanordic

Official Support:
Embassy of Japan in Denmark
See more details about the 150th anniversary at