Grand Amalgam of classic forms and innovative performances, 9 September – 16 October 2011
Thailand’s biggest international festival of music and dance, unfurls in Bangkok, with yet another riveting amalgam of old and new forms.
The classical programs have a repertoire of Russian ballet, opera, symphony music, which this year, seem more diverse and exciting.
‘Swan Lake’ has been the perennial favourite of this festival, but this year, Tchaikovsky’s ballet will be performed on ‘ice’ , by a superb ice-skating group, not from Russia, but from the UK!
‘Swan Lake on Ice’ is the opening act of the festival, as it would take more than 2 days to ‘set’ the ice-laden stage at the Thailand Cultural Centre. The performing artistes are the Imperial Ice Stars, who are top ice-skating champions of the UK, many of whom have partaken in the Olympics.
The 25 stars have 250 medals among them, and their superb skills, together with gorgeous costumes, lighting and special effects , will give another dimension to one of the most famous ballets of all time.
The other ballets in the festival will be played out by one of the best-known ballet companies of Russia- the Marinsky Ballet School of St Petersburgh, formerly known as the Kirov Ballet. They have a 250 year- old history of ballet, and performed in almost every city around the world.
The ballets they will enact, in Bangkok are the rich Ottoman love-drama of a pirate and a slave girl Le Corsaire, and the famous Spanish adventure-drama Don Quixote.
The Marinsky ballet group will be accompanied by the famed Marisnky Symphonic Orchestra.
Opera has become a popular feature of the festival, and this year, it will be the Ekaterinburgh State Opera Theater who will be in the spotlight.
They will perform the hugely popular Mozartian drama ‘Le Figaro’, together with the new drama ‘The Tsar’s Bride’ centering around the Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
The opera group will be accompanied by the Ekaterinburgh State Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, who will also have an individual performance of their own.
At the individual performance, the Ekaterinburgh State Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform two of the best-known symphonies in classical music- Alexander Borodin’s large-scale musical piece Symphony No 2, and Beethoven’s legendary Symphony No 9.
A highlight of this year’s festival is the performance of Austria’s famed Vienna Boys Choir. This choir, with their translucent voices and mellifluous rhythms, can sing almost anything, from medieval hymns to Strauss to opera, and have performed in nearly every major festival of the world.
Don Quixote _Zverev
Flamenco dance and Fado music have proved to be popular events at the festival. And this year, it will be nothing less than Spain’s famed Ballet Nacional de Espana who will set the stage on fire, with as many as 50 flamboyant flamenco dancers on stage! The highlight of their show will be a choreographic tribute to the private and public life of famed diva Carmen Amaya.
The Fado singer from Portugal, this year, will be the magnificent Katia Guerreiro, whose voice can elicit any emotion, and who won the Best Performer Award there, last year.
Bangkok’s biggest cultural festival has been noted for its amalgam of old and new forms.
This year, there are no jazz-groups , but there are dynamic dance troupes from Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, not to forget some unique groups from Taiwan and Denmark.
Brazil’s Bale de Rua (Street Ballet) are a group of pulsating dancers and vocalists who bring alive the stories of working class folks, by combining samba, hip hop and other forms, for a high-octave performance that have brought audiences to their feet, all around the world.
Swan Lake on Ice
The innovative Introdans Group from the Netherlands have performed at the festival before. This year, under the theme ‘Old Masters, Contemporary Partners, New talents’,
they resurrect the old masters like Mozart, Dvorak, through a collage of intriguing choreographies by famed choreographer Jiri Kilian. These include a collage of mystic dances, visual humour, minimal sets and costumes.
The Move Dance Company from Canada is noted for its almost seamless amalgam of classical ballet with contemporary dance forms. Choreographer Josh Beamish exhibits his three best productions here, including the premiere of a new work where he himself will perform.
A unique dance group from Denmark features young kids of top-most level, called The Flying Super-kids of Denmark. They are 30 award winning gymnasts in the age groups of 7-20, who astound one with their phenomenal gymnastic skills. This, together with
arresting lighting and multi-varied costume changes, accounts for a superb show.
The super-kids regularly tour around the world, accompanied by their parents and tutors.
There is a unique dance from the famed U Theatre of Taiwan, entitled Meeting with Bodhisattva. In this performance, 33 dancers combine theatre, dance, music, drumming, and martial arts with immaculate ease, even as their energetic rhythms have strong spiritual intonations.
There are two more shows which mix different media and art forms.
The Donlon Dance Company from Germany combine contemporary dance, installation art and live music, in their arresting production ‘Casa Azul’ which resurrects the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her music-loving husband Diego.
Last but not the least, is a unique UK-Thai multimedia presentation The Blue Planet Live, where stunning ocean-sequences from an award-winning BBC documentary, will be projected on a giant screen, accompanied by a full-fledged orchestra and choir led by Richard Harvey. He is the man who composed the highly individualised music of the mega Thai film Suriyothai.
The Emmy award winning original score of the documentary was composed by five- time Oscar nominee, George Fenton.
All in all, the Festival seems to have much in store for the culture aficionado.
For more details, check – www.bangkokfestivals.com. For tickets, check-Thai Ticket Major – www.thaiticketmajor.com – Ph 02 262 3191