Friday, September 27, 2013

Orfeo, Crossing the Ganges-An Opera that left the spectators enthralled

‘Orfeo, Crossing the Ganges’ an international Opera started with a grand opening at the Kamani Auditorium New Delhi, on 25th September 2013, the opening witnessed a huge amount of footfall in fact a pact auditorium throughout the event.

The Main Organizers of the Opera are The Neemrana Music Foundation and Akademia in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with Institut Français the Opera ‘Orfeo, Crossing the Ganges’, a five-act opera by Claudio Monteverdi.

The show was very well appreciated by the eminent personalities like the French Ambassador for India Mr. Francois Richier along with other French Ambassadors Mr. Marlaud and Mr. Thiebaud and Francis Wacziarg, the Founder of The Neemrana Hotels.

Also present were Minister of Human Resource Development Mr. Pallam Raju.

Ambassador Francois Richier said, “It’s not just the opera that has been bought to India but it is an Indo-French Collaboration and in this opera they have tried to merge French culture with Indian culture and bringing Greek Mythology to India”. And he added, “This is a broader initiative that we have to introduce French culture to the Indians”.

‘Orfeo’ is considered to be one of the first in opera history (1607), an opera in which Monteverdi merged the arts of poetry, theatre and music for the first time in history.

In ‘Orfeo, crossing the Ganges’, stage director François Rancillac and conductor Françoise Lasserre reveal a spectacle built on a reciprocal understanding between Occidental and Indian cultures. This link between the two worlds is reinforced by the Indian and European cast, trained on several occasions by Françoise Lasserre and Nadya Balyan choir conductor during workshops held in India during the last few months.
Arushi Mugdal, the famous Odissi dancer, performed on stage and enthralled the audience with her dance moves. The Orfeo was a blend of classical Indian music and Italian instruments of 70’s. Although it was an Italian Opera but it was able to capture the audiences interest and led to a standing ovation in the end.
In the story of ‘Orfeo, crossing the Ganges’, Orfeo travels to India and falls in love with Eurydice, dancer consecrated to the service of Lord Shiva. He kidnaps her and marries her, thus provoking the fury of the Grand god: the cobra around Shiva’s neck kills Eurydice. Orfeo‘s quest in the beyond to find the beloved, is like a crossing of the Ganges to the holy city of Varanasi. Presumptuous victim of his illusions, Orfeo fails and is put to death.

Produced by Francis Wacziarg, it is conducted by Françoise Lasserre and directed by François Rancillac. Up to 50 Indo-French artistes are gathered on stage: the role of Orfeo (tenor) is played by Dávid Szigetvári, Eurydice (soprano) is by Nitya Urbanna Vaz (who has been sent on scholarship to France by the Neemrana Music Foundation), Musica and Messagiera (soprano) is by Claire Lefilliâtre, Preserpina (soprano) is by Aude Priya, Ninfa and Merula (soprano) is by Dagmar Saskova, Speranza and Pastor (soprano) is by Jean-Christophe Clair, Pastor and Spirto (tenor) is by Jan Van Elsacker, Pastor and Spirto (tenor) is by Johannes Weiss, Caronte, Pastor and Spirto (bass) is by Hugo Oliveira and Plutone (bass) is by Geoffroy Buffière.
The orchestra consists of Murad Ali (sarangi), Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar (shehnai), Mithilesh Jha (tabla), Mohan Shyam Sharma (pakhawaj), along with 18 instrumentalists of Akadêmia from France , The Neemrana Vocal Ensemble from Delhi.

Antoine Redon is Executive Producer, Sabine Siegwalt design Scenography & Costumes, Parvesh and Jai are Associated Costume Designers, Nadya Balyan is Choir Master.

The specificity of this production is the use of very rare and old instruments of the time of Monteverdi, such as the theorbo, the viola de gamba, the organ and the harpsichord… All these instruments are coming from abroad along with the musicians and will be a magical experience for the Indian audiences.

The sponsors for the Opera are the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Institut Français, IBIS Delhi Airport, Air India, Veolia Water and Hit 95 FM.Orfeo.