Witness Opera's heavenly twins

Feb 16, 2012, 06:50 IST | Surekha S

The 12th season of The Symphony Orchestra of India, presented by the NCPA, brings two stellar operas for the Mumbai audience

The 12th season of The Symphony Orchestra of India, presented by the NCPA, brings two stellar operas for the Mumbai audience

For the first time in the history of SOI, two operas will be performed in one season for Mumbai audiences. The classic operatic duo, Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, will enthrall the Mumbai audience with their moving performances at the NCPA starting from February 18.

The two operas, first premiered in the 19th century and have been performed back-to-back at many opera seasons. According to certain statistics, these operas have had close to 14,000 performances across the world.

On February 18 and 20, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci will be conducted by celebrated conductor Antonello Allemandi, while the finale of the two operas will be conducted by SOI's resident conductor Zane Dalal on February 21.

"The two performances will introduce people to Verismo style of opera, which literally means true to life," says Zane, who stresses that there are two one-act operas have two different plots and story lines.

When asked about the challenges of conducting two operas, "There are separate composers and two story lines to follow," he says, admitting that it is also extremely emotional as both the operas are tragic stories.
They deal with love, jealousy and betrayal. "With great music and great actors, you tend to get emotional. You get involved as the story moves forward. It's in the music," he adds.

In addition to the two operas, the season will witness a concert performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. It is based on 24 poems taken from the medieval manuscript of the same title and will feature more than 300 artistes on stage.

For a while now, Zane has been conducting sessions on understanding opera for students and others interested and he feels that the response has been great. "Most people are interested and captivated as they listen to details about the opera.

I attempt to find parts that excite me in order to transmit them to the audience. How large the opera is and how it brings together diverse elements such as set design, stage direction, music, costume, make-up and more, fascinate me," he says. "Indian audiences are very attuned to subtleties. They cheer on intuitively," he adds.

Zane also feels that there are more and more people wanting to witness operas. "There are a growing number of music lovers listening to global art forms.
It is great that India is providing a platform for this and giving people the choice to watch an opera and we try to ensure that the standards are not compromised. People should not say this orchestra is good enough for India. They should say it is a great orchestra," he concludes.

ON: February 18, 20, 21, 25, 26
AT: Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call 22824567 / 66223724

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