hikikomori! is my first opera, commissioned by Nigel and Sue Masters of Opera in Oborne, and written in the space of a year between January and December 2021.
hikikomori! explores self-isolation, grief, healing, and returning to new and possibly more fearful society. The libretto - also written by myself - depicts the mind of a young shut-in boy, navigating a denial-filled dream world alongside manifestations of his childhood friends, eventually uncovering a hidden, tragic truth.
hikikomori! is heavily inspired by indie video game OMORI, and my experiences first playing through the game's story in December 2020. Releasing in December 2020, the video game centres on a boy living in his own head, going on adventures with his childhood friends, while slowly (re)learning a hidden, horrifying truth — culminating in a climactic decision of whether Omori can leave his dream world, or remain victim to his own denial.
During my first playthrough of OMORI, I couldn’t help but notice the acute similarities between the titular boy, and the collective trauma many of us have experienced over the past two years. This collective trauma is not simply a side effect of our staying at home: it is our fears of our own mortality, the loved ones who have been taken from us too soon, the constant headlines reminding us of the gravity of our situation.
In essence: hikikomori! is an opera about isolation, about trauma, about grief, and about recovery.
The opera is divided into three acts:
A copy of the libretto is available for perusal here.
There's something behind you...
Commissioner: Nigel Masters
Premiere: 4 April 2022, 15:30
St. Cuthbert's Church, Oborne, Dorset (UK)
Composer: Zygmund de Somogyi
Libretto: Zygmund de Somogyi
Artistic Director: Susanna Stranders
Costume/Set Design: Siobhan Chapman
Artwork: Anna Thorpe
NARRATOR / MARI - Katy Thomson
AUBREY - Iúnó Connolly
HERO - Kieran Rayner
KEL / THE KEEPER - Liam Bonthrone
Piano - Michelle Santiago
World premiere on 4 April 2022 in Oborne, Dorset,
Interested in performing this opera or perusing a score? Get in touch!
Act One: the boy in the white room
Act Two: the boy in the black room
Act Three: the boy inside his head