Home News A Farewell Ovation: Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Last Performances Immortalized in Concert Movie ‘Opus’

A Farewell Ovation: Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Last Performances Immortalized in Concert Movie ‘Opus’

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Ryuichi Sakamoto's Final Performances

Before succumbing to cancer in March 2023, legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto had his final musical performances recorded at Tokyo’s NHK Broadcast Center’s studio. This cinematic tribute, aptly named ‘Opus,’ is set to debut globally on September 5 at the Venice Film Festival. The creative vision behind the lens is none other than his own son, Neo Soro. Fans can catch a snippet featuring Sakamoto’s composition for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film ‘The Sheltering Sky’ over on the Deadline website.

The movie showcases a diverse array of Sakamoto’s work, featuring songs from the iconic Yellow Magic Orchestra, soundtrack snippets from celebrated films like ‘The Last Emperor’ and ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,’ as well as tunes from his swan song album, 12. Norika Sora, Sakamoto’s spouse and business manager, served as the film’s producer. Deadline has also released a heartfelt, posthumous statement from Sakamoto reflecting on his contributions to the project.

Sakamoto had this to say: “This endeavor was designed to chronicle my artistic expressions—while I still had the capability to express them—in a manner deserving of historical preservation. We selected NHK Broadcast Center’s 509 Studio for the recordings, a venue I believe provides Japan’s most impeccable acoustics.


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“Every musical piece was initially performed and captured on an iPhone in my home, helping to shape the overall structure of the concert. This structure aimed to reflect the passage of time from dawn to dusk. We took painstaking efforts to storyboard every aspect, ensuring that both lighting and camera angles evolved meaningfully with each musical number. The experience was tinged with anticipation and anxiety, as I recognized this could be my final shot at sharing my art in this form. We carefully recorded a handful of songs each day.

“In a way, facing what could be my last stint on the stage allowed me to push the envelope creatively. Given my health, concentrating on a few songs daily was the limit of my capabilities. After the exertion, I felt completely drained, and my health took a noticeable dip for roughly a month. Nevertheless, the contentment of capturing a performance I could be proud of, before my time ran out, brings me a sense of peace.”

Following his passing, Sakamoto’s team released what would be the late composer’s ultimate playlist, providing fans with yet another layer of his multifaceted brilliance.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: The Eternal Virtuoso

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Final Performances

What is the main focus of the concert film ‘Opus’?

The main focus of ‘Opus’ is to showcase the final performances of the legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto before he passed away from cancer in March 2023. The film spans his illustrious career, featuring works from the Yellow Magic Orchestra, movie scores, and his final album.

Who directed the film ‘Opus’?

The film was directed by Neo Soro, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s own son, adding a deeply personal touch to this cinematic tribute.

When and where is ‘Opus’ premiering?

‘Opus’ is set to make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2023.

What types of compositions are included in the film?

The film includes a wide range of Sakamoto’s work, from his Yellow Magic Orchestra days to soundtrack snippets from movies like ‘The Last Emperor’ and ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,’ as well as tracks from his final album, 12.

Who produced the film?

Norika Sora, Sakamoto’s wife and business manager, produced the film. Her role adds another layer of personal connection to this farewell opus.

Was Ryuichi Sakamoto involved in the creative process?

Yes, Sakamoto was highly involved. He meticulously planned the structure of the concert, chose the recording venue for its acoustics, and even performed each piece at home beforehand for inclusion in the film.

What was Sakamoto’s emotional state while recording for ‘Opus’?

According to his posthumous statement, Sakamoto approached the project with a mix of anticipation and anxiety, recognizing it could be his final chance to share his art in this form. Despite the emotional and physical toll, he expressed a sense of peace and satisfaction with the final product.

Is there any additional material released alongside the film?

Yes, following Sakamoto’s passing, his management released his final playlist, providing fans an additional glimpse into his musical world.

Are there any trending topics related to ‘Opus’?

At the time of the article’s writing, trending topics included another artist’s work (“The One Track Jeff Tweedy Desperately Wishes He Penned”), but the anticipation surrounding ‘Opus’ is likely to make it a trending topic upon its release.

More about Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Final Performances

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Official Website
  • Venice Film Festival 2023 Lineup
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra: A Retrospective
  • ‘The Last Emperor’: An In-Depth Look at the Soundtrack
  • ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’: Behind the Score
  • Deadline’s Exclusive Snippet from ‘Opus’
  • An Interview with Neo Soro on Directing ‘Opus’
  • Norika Sora Discusses Producing ‘Opus’
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Final Playlist
  • Jeff Tweedy’s Most Desired Song: A Trending Topic

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