Monday 29 July, 2019.The audience party, led by His Royal Highness Prince Sisowath Tesso, consisted of Aaron Carpenè, Musical and Executive Director; H.E. Dr. Helen Jarvis, Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia; Mr. Chan Vitharo, flautist in the Mozart at Angkor orchestra and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Music of RUFA; Mr. Cheap Sovichea, director of the Cambodian Film Commission and production partner for Mozart at Angkor; and Ms. Chey Chankethya, artistic coordinator of the Cambodian artists in the Mozart at Angkor project.
Following Royal protocol, a flower basket filled with yellow and gold orchids and lilies was delivered to the Royal Palace in anticipation of the audience. Each day of the week is connected to a colour (determined by the Sun and the planets): Monday is the day for yellow and refers to the Moon. Touches of yellow, gold and bronze were worn by the Mozart at Angkor party.
The motorcade with the guests arrived at the Royal Palace and was greeted by the Royal Guard. The gates were opened, the company entered the precincts of the palace with a general feeling of excitement and anticipation, and slowly winding around the grounds to reach the impressive Khemarin Palace. His Majesty was waiting at the top of the staircase and greeted us with a warm welcome, accompanying us into the antechamber where an exchange of gifts took place.
We were warmly received and His Majesty, expressing his great enthusiasm for the cross-cultural content of the project, graciously bestowed his patronage. In addition, he expressed his desire to preside over the premiere Gala performance if a suitable date could be identified given his ceremonial commitments around the 16th and 22nd of February 2020.
The audience was a great and memorable moment for the Mozart at Angkor team and as we drove away from the Throne Hall, His Majesty remained at the top of the staircase until we had disappeared from his sight. We were left with the impression of a gracious, knowledgeable and exquisitely cultured person who honoured us with his insights, appreciation for the endeavour and impeccable hospitality.