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Classic Cambodian Singer Goes Operatic

Ask any Cambodian who Ieng Sithul is, and they will tell you: a famous singer of classical music and star of numerous CDs and DVDs. But ask Ieng Sithul what he'll be doing next month when he comes to the US, and things get a little murkier.

That's because he'll be entering a field wholly new to him, opera.

Ieng Sithul has been selected by a group in the US to receive opera training, for performance in a story called, "Where the Elephant Weeps." At least, that's what they think it will be called.

The performance will come to Lowell, Massachusetts, New York and other New England venues, Ieng Sithul told VOA in a recent interview. The singer has been on missions lately to learn more about other cultures and music, like wedding songs in the US, or performances in India.

Ieng Sithul, who loves the sound of traditional Cambodian instruments, said he was learning a lot recently, including how to read music.

He laughed when asked about the tentative title, saying he didn't know where the elephant actually weeps, or how his voice will actually sound in an opera.

Wait, though, he said, and you might be pleasantly surprised.