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June 27, 2024 – Today, the estate of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Milan Records announce Opus, a collection of works performed and composed by the late legendary composer from his final concert in the fall of 2022, before his death in early 2023. Available for preorder now, Opus is set for audio release in Dolby Atmos via Milan Records on August 9. Making its debut alongside today’s preorder is lead single “Tong Poo” – listen here. Originally from Yellow Magic Orchestra’s 1978 debut album, the slow tempo solo piano version is a new arrangement performed for the first time at Sakamoto’s 2022 concert.  

On Sunday, June 30 at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET, the Criterion Channel will host the online premiere of RYUICHI SAKAMOTO | OPUS (2023), Neo Sora’s documentary of Sakamoto’s final performance. Watch the live streaming event at or on the Criterion Channel app.

In late 2022, the Japanese composer, producer, and artist Ryuichi Sakamoto sat down at the piano for a final performance. Too ill to complete an entire set at once, Opus is garnered from multiple sessions shot and recorded in Tokyo’s legendary NHK 509 Studio.
The concert, filmed without an audience, was directed by Sakamoto’s son Neo Sora. The film was shot in black and white, to illustrate the shifting light between each song, evincing the passage of a day, and thus time. It catches the composer’s face and all the intimacy of the moment as memories flood an uncertain future.  
As for the album, careful attention was paid to the audio and engineering: capturing every note, every pedal shift, and every labored breath in immersive audio sound and Dolby Atmos, as Sakamoto interpreted his vast catalog for the last time.
Carefully curated by Sakamoto, selections include iconic film scores and Yellow Magic Orchestra classics alongside pieces reflective of his eclectic career. “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,” perhaps one of his most famous melodies, and beloved works “Andata,” “Aqua” and “Trioon ” are represented as well as entirely new or never-before-recorded compositions.  “for Jóhann”, dedicated to the late composer and Sakamoto’s friend Jóhann Jóhannsson, “BB,” a tribute to filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, and “20180219 (w/prepared piano),” a previously unreleased solo prepared-piano track, are all new to Sakamoto’s vast repertoire.
Sakamoto provided a statement on the project after it was recorded, saying:
The project was conceived as a way to record my performances—while I was still able to perform—in a way that is worth preserving for the future.  In some sense, while thinking of this as my last opportunity to perform, I also felt that I was able to break new ground. Simply playing a few songs a day with a lot of concentration was all I could muster at this point in my life. Perhaps due to the exertion, I felt utterly hollow afterwards, and my condition worsened for about a month. Even so, I feel relieved that I was able to record before my death—a performance that I was satisfied with.
These chosen works tell the story of not only a prolific musician, but a tirelessly curious artist. It is a reflection of Sakamoto’s own life and work as he faces death, on his own terms.

Lack of Love
for Jóhann*
Aubade 2020
Ichimei – small happiness
Mizu no Naka no Bagatelle
Bibo no Aozora
Tong Poo*
The Wuthering Heights
20220302 – sarabande
The Sheltering Sky
20180219 (w/prepared piano)*
The Last Emperor
Happy End
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Opus – ending
*New or never-before-recorded


Ryuichi Sakamoto was a composer, producer, and artist born in Tokyo. His diverse résumé includes pioneering electronic works in the legendary techno group Yellow Magic Orchestra, producing pop albums and numerous classical compositions, two operas, and nearly 45 original film/TV scores for directors, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Pedro Almodóvar, Brian De Palma, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. His film soundtracks have won prestigious awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and many more.

Sakamoto also made considerable contributions to the art world with both solo and collaborative installations and multi-piece exhibitions presented in galleries and museums worldwide.

On January 17th, 2023, his 71st birthday, Ryuichi released 12, his 15th solo album. The new album is a collection of 12 songs selected from musical sketches Sakamoto recorded like a sound diary during his two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer.

Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away in March 2023 at the age of 71.

In memory of Ryuichi, his family and friends launched TREES FOR SAKAMOTO, a tree planting initiative to enable fans to donate to planting trees in various regions simply and transparently.


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