Archive

Mozart's 'Magic Flute,' to a Cambodian Tune

The Khmer Arts Ensemble visited the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, in Maryland, in October to perform Sophiline Cheam Shapiro's "Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute," an interpretation of Mozart's famous opera.

When the curtain opened, the celestial beings of Cambodia resplendent in crowns, costumes and jewels told the story, accompanied by a traditional Cambodian Pin Peat ensemble of instrumentalists and three vocalists.

The opera tells the story of a kidnapped princess who must be rescued by a prince with a magic flute, and closely mirrors Mozart's stories, though with Cambodian characteristics. Mozart's serpent is Shapiro's garuda, for example.

Shapiro, the show's artistic director, is a choreographer, dancer, vocalist and educator. She has infused the classical form with new ideas and energy. Shapiro was one of the first students at the Cambodian National School of Fine Arts after it reopened following Cambodia's wars. After graduating, she joined the faculty of the school and toured internationally with the Classical Dance Company of Cambodia. In the early 1990s she emigrated to southern California.

"Pamina Devi was created at the request of theatre director Peter Sellars for New Crowned Hope, a festival in Vienna held in 2006 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth," Shapiro told VOA Khmer. "Peter asked me to explore the ideas and themes, the philosophies and concerns that Mozart addressed in the last works he composed prior to his death, at the age of 35, in 1791."

The performance was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and supported by the Khmer Arts Academy, Amrita Performing Arts and the Lisa Booth Management Firm.

Executive Producer of the Khmer Arts Academy John Shapiro, Sophiline's husband, has toured with the group in five US states.

"One of the interesting thing of the Magic Flute is that opera is also a court tradition, a European court tradition," John Shapiro said. "And yet the Magic Flute was an opera created for common theatre, for common people."

Cambodian classical dance is no longer a court form, he said, but it is still primarily patronized by the government.

"She worked outside of that system and so she's taking what had been a court form and making a work of art for everyday people and in that sense there is a great parallel between the 'Magic Flute' and 'Pamina Devi.'"

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

40th Anniversary of Khmer Rouge Takeover

Click on the photo to go to special page.

Click on the photo to go to special page.

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Villagers Clash With Vietnamese Border Securityi
X
30 June 2015
A group of villagers clashed with Vietnamese border security on Sunday, after they accused the neighboring country of encroachment. Opposition lawmakers say they want Cambodia to press their case against encroachment with the International Court of Justice, with increased accusations of Vietnamese construction on the Cambodian side of the border. Sunday’s violence came when a delegation led by lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party tried to investigate a paved road in Svay Rieng province, near the border, but were blocked by Vietnamese border security. More than 10 people were injured in the ensuing scuffle. (Sok Khemara, Washington)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Save Face (Movie: Just Go With It)i
X
03 November 2014
You can say, "I can't believe he's not accepting responsibility for his mistakes. To 'save face' he continues to make excuses for himself." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Save Face (Movie: Just Go With It)

You can say, "I can't believe he's not accepting responsibility for his mistakes. To 'save face' he continues to make excuses for himself." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video You've Got To Be Kidding (Movie: Bedtime Stories)

You can say, "What? You lost your passport? So, you're stranded in a foreign country, where you don't speak the language and you don't know anyone? You've got to be kidding me, right?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
Video

Video All Thumbs (Movie: Minority Report)

You can say, "I was 'all thumbs' this morning when trying to tie this tie - I kept making mistakes and just couldn't figure a way to pull it together." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Carry Out (Movie: Jane Eyre)

You can say, "He has many strong qualities as a leader and under his leadership I think he will successfully 'carry out' the new mission and vision for this company." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
Video

Video A Wake Up Call (Movie: Limitless)

You can say, "The visit to the doctor was definitely 'a wake up call' for him. The heavy drinking, smoking, and partying every night needs to stop." What does it mean? For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>