Asia News: Placido Domingo, Hydeout, Download

Placido Domingo
Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images
– Placido Domingo
performs on stage during a concert at the Starlite in Marbella on July 25, 2015.

Domingo Cancels Pre-Olympics Performance

Opera legend Placido Domingo will not perform at a pre-Olympics cultural event in Tokyo next spring as previously planned, according to an announcement made by the organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics on Nov. 8.

Apparently, it was Domingo himself who pulled out of the event, which was supposed to combine his grand opera with kabuki superstar Ichikawa Ebizo’s music in a way that hadn’t been completely worked out yet.

In his own statement, Domingo said he had decided not to participate in the event “due to the complexity of the project.” No mention was made by the organizing committee or the Japanese media about allegations of sexual harassment of numerous women over the past few decades, allegations that have caused Domingo to cancel a number of activities in the United States. Domingo’s concerts in Tokyo in January are still taking place, but soprano Renee Fleming is no longer appearing as a co-attraction.

The project was to be part of the Olympic organizers’ Nippon Festival to promote “Japanese culture and diversity.” It is not known if Ebizo will try to find another partner for the event, but the kabuki actor has announced another interesting project that will take place at the end of November.

Ebizo is apparently a diehard “Star Wars” fan and has helped put together a “Star Wars” kabuki play starring himself.

In a statement Ebizo said “’Star Wars Kabuki’ will depict the love and loss felt by the Skywalker family over the past 40-plus years.”

The actor, however, will not portray Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, but rather Kylo Ren, a third-generation Skywalker, so to speak, which is fitting since kabuki itself is all about the bloodline.

Local media have also said that the epic has special meaning to Ebizo, who became a single father to his two children following the death of his wife from cancer at the age of 34.

The official title of the play is “Star Wars Kabuki: Rennosuke and the Three Light Sabers,” and so far it is scheduled for only one performance on Nov. 28. The theater has yet to be announced. 

Hydeout Unveils Initial Lineup

The first wave of artists has been announced for the inaugural Hydeout music festival, which is slated to take place in Singapore at The Meadow in Gardens by the Bay over the course of two weekends next spring: April 10-11 and April 17-18.

Among the artists announced are A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, DJ Snake, Myrne, San Holo, Sam Feldt and Rita Ora. The executive producer of the festival, Chan Wee Teck, told the Straits Times that he and the other organizers hope to emulate Coachella.

“We looked at what was lacking in the spectrum of music festivals held here, and we also took references from both international and regional shows,” he said. Unlike Coachella, however, which tends to run the same lineup over consecutive weekends, Hydeout will offer completely different lineups over the course of its four days.

Chan says that more acts will be announced shortly and that they will be “contemporary names” that are well-known on streaming services. The organizers are using a data-driven model to curate the festival that relies on Spotify, YouTube and Google trends to assess various acts’ relevance and social media presence.

“We wanted to make sure the acts and the names resonate with our audience—not just here, but in the region,” said Chan. “We’re not terribly concerned about genre, just the latest sounds.”

Chan works for a collective called HydeNSeek Entertainment, which runs large-scale festivals throughout the region.

“The goal is to build Hydeout as an iconic music destination,” said Chan. He envisions about 15,000 visitors a day, with ticket prices starting at S$138 ($100).

Download Japan Goes Emo

The lineup for Japan’s Download Festival was announced at the beginning of November, and as one internet commentator quipped it looks suspiciously like a roster you would have seen on the Warped Tour in the mid-2000s rather than the sort of metal blowout the festival is known for: the reformed My Chemical Romance will headline, backed up by The Offspring, Evanescence, Jimmy Eat World, In Flames and At The Gates.

The show takes place at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, east of Tokyo, on March 29.

This means it will pretty much be competing with a true metal festival, Slipknot’s Knotfest Japan, which takes place March 20 and 21 at the very same venue.

The Iowa headbangers will also be headlining the Hammersonic Festival in Jakarta March 27-28 as part of its We Are Not Your Kind World Tour. Tickets for Hammersonic went on sale Nov. 11 with only Slipknot announced so far. The last Hammersonic was held in July 2018.