Friday, January 22, 2010

Sarah's dream stays alive

Amara Chhin-Lawrence and Jean-Baptiste Phou star in the video excerpts of Winds of Angkor
Last year I made mention of a new musical based on Cambodia. It's called Winds of Angkor and has been written by British composer Sarah O'Brien who visited Cambodia in 1999 and 2006. She 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.
The composer's dream is to stage the world premiere in Cambodia. She's already completed extensive pre-production work, which you can see here on video and for which she employed two of the cast, Amara Chhin-Lawrence and Jean-Baptiste Phou, of the incredibly successful Where Elephants Weep, another musical-opera that took Phnom Penh by storm at the end of 2008. It would be another massive leap forwards for Cambodia's artistic development if Sarah O'Brien's vision can come to life here in Cambodia, I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed. Visit the musical's website.

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