“A genius display of talents and creative minds that have succeeded to leap past the hurdles of personal, cultural and language differences, and the very fact that such genre of performing arts is relatively new to the eyes of its expected audience. It was a celebration of art beyond art.”
Agnes Alpuerto / Khmer Times, March 2018
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The production that astounded audiences in Phnom Penh continues its flight towards the fully-fledged spectacle at the ancient Khmer temple of Chau Say Tevoda, in the heart of the ruins of the Ancient Kingdom of Angkor. In the true spirit of a melting pot of cultures, the narrative grandeur of Cambodia’s epic poem the Reamker is woven into Mozart’s most popular and endearing opera, the Magic Flute. Tamino and Pamina find their alter egos in Prince Preah Ream (Rama) and Queen Neang Seda (Sita) as they search for truth, liberty, justice and love. Their path towards enlightenment, accompanied by Papageno is met with a host of birds and animals, the dastard Sarastro comes with a horde of cheeky flee-ridden monkey dancers and the operatic highpoint of the Queen of the Night’s arias enthral with the accompaniment of Khmer classical dance in all its power and grace.
The unprecedented and spectacular sub-tropical jungle setting in all its mystery and luxuriant vigour is the location for an opera the world has never seen, complete with a full Cambodian orchestra, a Mozart orchestra, an international cast of singers and Cambodia’s national treasures of dance and shadow puppetry.
With its powerful mythological and allegorical content, the opera’s morality and affecting love story have clear parallels with the popular Ramayana story and other elements of Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
Ever since political stability returned to Cambodia after the demise of the Khmer Rouge, considerable effort and investment have been spent on reviving the indigenous arts, much of it engendered by Amrita Performing Arts. This production will reap the benefits of two decades of this kind of work. The project will create opportunities for Cambodians to learn the essentials of theater production and management, including costume design, sound and lighting, and stage management. Cambodians will gain a better insight into their capacities and abilities to achieve goals they might never have imagined.
Chau Say Tevoda Temple lies about one kilometre from Angkor Wat. Built in the mid-12th century, it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat period. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, and with unique types of female sculptures of devatas enshrined in it.
The production brings together Cambodian actors, dancers, puppeteers, singers and instrumentalists, with theatre and opera professionals from around the Southeast Asian region and beyond. Performed in German and Cambodian.
2019 (exact date to be determined).