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"Orfeo: Crossing the Ganges" Opera to be held in Delhi

New Delhi, Thu, 19 Sep 2013 Amit Kumar

The Neemrana Music Foundation in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Institut Français will present the Opera 'Orfeo, Crossing the Ganges', a five-act opera by Claudio Monteverdi, at the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi, on 25, 26 and 27 September 2013. The performance will later be taken to the Cite de la Musique, Paris on the 5th of October 2013.

'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.

The original story of 'Orfeo' is the mythical love story of Orfeo and Eurydice, in which Orfeo's love takes him to Hell in search of his beloved deceased wife. In order to get through the doors of Hell, Orfeo uses his talent of singer and of lyre player to charm the Gods and the people in Hell.

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 David Szigetvari, 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 Lefilliatre, 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.

Arushi Mugdal, the famous Odissi dancer, will perform on stage.

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.

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