Thursday, May 28, 2009

Winds of Angkor

Western-style musicals based on Cambodia are few and far between as far as I can make out. They are a bit like double-decker buses, none for ages then two come along at once. Phnom Penh recently revelled in the glory of Where Elephants Weep and now it looks as though another musical maybe about to steal the headlines. Winds of Angkor has been written by British composer Sarah O'Brien who visited Cambodia in 1999 and 2006 and says; "The piece evolved musically from the initial concept of an intimate love duet to a full-scale theatrical production involving soloists, orchestra, Cambodian musicians and dancers, rhythm section and a state-of-the-art set that features spectacular 3D projections and video content. The challenge was to balance the tenderness of the original letters with the enormity of one of the worst human catastrophes of the 20th Century. Angkor Wat and the surviving temples that rise from the jungle stand witness to the resilience of the Cambodian people and their culture, which ultimately prevailed. Although the story is inspired by tragedy, the musical celebrates the unique, exotic beauty of Cambodia and carries a message of hope to those affected by genocide today." The composer is a classically-trained cellist who has worked with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Russell Watson, Celine Dion and is a regular member of Yanni's touring company as well as recording a host of TV and movie soundtracks. I'm not sure of the current status of the project as a world premiere was slated to take place in California sometime this year. When I hear more, you'll be the first to know. Visit the website.

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