Takahime, was a unique collaboration between ANÚNA and a Noh Theatre company in Tokyo's Orchard Hall. Involving a full Noh troupe performing in one of Japan’s most significant venues, Orchard Hall. The presentation was an enormously complex and included a full score created by Michael McGlynn.
“To create something that involved considerable improvisation and both interaction and sympathetic understanding of one of the highest theatrical art forms on the planet was a massive challenge. I think that this was the “coming of age” event for ANÚNA and it will remain with me as the most significant moment of my artistic career. It is a true fusion of two superficially disconnected cultures, but I think we, along with Keiko and Keita from Plankton, managed to do something truly astonishing without compromising in any way on the basic ideas of Noh or ANÚNA itself.”
The work was co-directed my Michael and the great Noh actor Gensho Umewaka who observed,
“Japanese and Celtic peoples have very old and refined cultures, and though we have to cherish them, we should develop them, too…I think (ANÚNA’s music) and Noh are similar in both being abstract arts,” the designated Living National Treasure observed. “So we have no need to hesitate and can just make all the creative sparks we wish. Before now in this piece, I have played the princess, the old man and a rock. In my opinion, the princess is a symbol of eternity, but you can interpret the meaning of the old man or Cu Chulainn or the rocks around the spring in several ways. This time, I dance behind the scrim (open-weave) curtain in the first scene, then gradually appear in front of the audience.”
With noh actor Yoshimasa Kanze in the role of the old man, and Cu Chulainn played by the kyōgen (traditional comic theater) artist Norishige Yamamoto, Anuna’s singing was supported by a traditional Noh vocal chorus and noh musicians playing a flute, hip drum, shoulder drum and a large taiko drum.Outlining his approach to composing the music for this work at the time, Michael said,
“Basically, European 12-tone music and Japanese traditional music are different. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to combining them. For Anuna, the big challenge is, along with the noh performers, to express realms both intangible and invisible.”