A Musical Night of Love & Devotion to honor Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Birthday

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Royal Cliff hosts Grand Opera birthday concert for HM Queen Sirikit

The Royal Cliff Hotels Group and the Grand Opera Thailand celebrated HM Queen Sirikit’s 81st birthday with a musical tribute to her majesty’s “Love & Devotion” to the people of Thailand.

More than 160 people turned out for the Aug. 12 concert which saw young Thai opera singers in performances of renowned composers like Mozart, Offenbach, Lehar, Purcell, Handel and others.

The rising stars of opera. Kittiphong Klabprathum (Tenor), Siroj Sakudomkachorn (Baritone), Pimluk Vessawasdi (Soprano), Saran Senavinin (Baritone), Pichaya Kemasingki (Bass-Baritone), Potprecha Jak Cholvijarn (countertenor), Sineenuch Pittayajumrus (coloratura soprano), and Panatpong Atthakarunpan (Tenor)

Grand Opera Thailand was formed in April 2012 and consists of mostly Thai singers under the leadership of their artistic director Stefan Sanchez.  The musical accompaniment is provided by piano played by Morakot Cherdchoo-ngarm and Emeritus Professor Laurence Davis.

The evening started with six pieces from Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte,” giving the singers a chance to show off their talents on ‘La Mia Dorabella,” “Ah Guarda Sorella,” “Vorrei Dir,” “Sento O Dio,” and “Soave Sia Il Vento.”

(Left to right) Vathanai Vathanakul, Ummarapas Vathanakul, Jak Cholvijarn, Panga Vathanakul, and Vitanart Vathanakul pose for a photo in the Royal Cliff’s Head of State Chamber’s reception.(Left to right) Vathanai Vathanakul, Ummarapas Vathanakul, Jak Cholvijarn, Panga Vathanakul, and Vitanart Vathanakul pose for a photo in the Royal Cliff’s Head of State Chamber’s reception.

Then came two songs from Franz Lehar’s Merry Widow: ‘Lippen schweigen’ and ‘Vilja song’, and the beautiful ‘Barcarolle: Belle Nuit o nuit amour’ from the Tales of Hoffman performed by Pimluk Vessawasdi and Potprecha (Jak) Cholvijarn.  This was followed by Stefan Sanchez singing ‘Scintille diamant’, again from the Tales of Hoffman..

There was time for some more Mozart with baritone Saran Senavinin and mezzosoprano Manasanun Aksornteang performing songs from “The Magic Flute” before Soprano Sineenuch Pittayajumrus’ rendition of the famous “Der Holler Rache” aria took us into a short interval.

Grand Opera Thailand’s performing artists stand alongside Royal Cliff’s management on stage at the close of the performance.Grand Opera Thailand’s performing artists stand alongside Royal Cliff’s management on stage at the close of the performance.

The second half of the concert saw a change of pace with arias from Handel, Purcell and Donizetti before a trio of Spanish songs took us into the grand finale.

To round off the evening the Grand Opera Thailand troupe did a variety of songs from popular musicals including ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘All I ask of you’ ‘Sun and moon’ from Miss Saigon, ‘On my own’ & A heart full of love’ from Les Miserables and ‘This is the moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde, which was vocalized beautifully by guest singer Panatpong

Stefan Sanchez, Artistic Director of Grand Opera Thailand (left) serenades the audience.Stefan Sanchez, Artistic Director of Grand Opera Thailand (left) serenades the audience.

The rapturous applause from the audience gave artistic director Stefan Sanchez a chance to enthrall everyone in attendance with an encore from “Carmen” with the rest of the group accompanying him from the wings.

Commenting after the show, Royal Cliff Executive Director Vitanart Vathanakul said, “Royal Cliff is delighted to serve as an outlet for artistic talents and performances.  Music is nourishment for the soul and we hope to continue providing the opportunity to bask in it.”

This event was made possible by the assistance of Piyabutr and Suchintana Cholvijarn, Sawanya Dej-udom, Kasomporn Sukayoung, Panga Vathanakul, Vitanart Vathanakul, Piyanarong Co., Saranchol Pattaya Condominium, Ben Hansen and Pattaya Mail Publishing.

Grand Opera Thailand has matured immensely in the last year, not just in terms of the singing ability of the group but also in its ability to engage the audience.  It likely will be a year until the group returns to Pattaya, but the opera performs Aug. 30-Oct. 25 at the St Regis Hotel in Bangkok.  For more information, go to www.echo-opera.com.