The esthetics applicable to a legendary Japan contrasts with the rawness of a desolate story without hope.
The red-light district of Tokyo will be a silent witness of the fall to disgrace of a young girl who has been kidnapped and held in a brothel by an administrator. Having been frustrated by her innocence, he will finally disown her without ever having been able to possess her. If that weren’t enough, the young girl will have to deal with the scorn of a father convinced that she has chosen prostitution of her own accord. As the possibility of returning home dissipates, at the same time, so does her will to live.
The oriental harmonic fantasies proposed by score of Pietro Mascagni, at no point sweeten the fact that we are observing a narrative based on the accepted (and even applauded) performance of what is basically the intent of rape of a young girl.
It is also disturbingly familiar that it be the young girl that has to bear the burden of guilt for a crime that was not committed.
Iris is an opera as uncomfortable for the audience of its premiere as it is for today’s audience.