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Cambodian Rock Opera Set to Debut in US

"Where Elephants Weep," the first contemporary Cambodian rock opera, is set to debut this weekend in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The opera, which includes English and Khmer songs, with subtitles for both, is scheduled to travel to Phnom Penh in 2008.

The musical is the product of Cambodian and US thespian collaboration, and will feature the performance of Him Sophy, a Russian-trained Cambodian composer.

Him Sophy told VOA Khmer recently the work had been a pleasure, especially adapting traditional Khmer instruments to fit a rock-and-roll format.

The musical includes Khmer traditional instruments and a Western-style rock band.

"Where Elephants Weep" tells the story of a Cambodian man returning to his country after many decades and is based loosely on the ancient love story Tum Tieu, a tale of star-crossed lovers. In the modern version, the returnee, an American-Cambodian, falls in love with a Cambodian pop star.