This September Bangkokians will share something in common Bangkok’s 19th International Festival of Dance and Music brings something both Thais and expats can find closer to their hearts, with an eclectic collection of performances, from classical ballets to Broadway musicals to a family-friendly acrobatics show.
The spotlight of the most-expected annual event undeniably shines on the star-crossed love stories from the East and the West.Sittikun Boon-itt, Vice President of Bangkok’s 19th International Festival of Dance and Music, told us what to expect for this year, “Apart from the eclectic collections of world-renowned performances, we are excited to present to the audiences in Bangkok, Thais and expats alike, the exquisite Katya and the Prince of Siam by the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre, one of the oldest opera theatres in Russia and the original production of No 1 American musical theatre West Side Story.
Both share the romantic tale of love amidst the social and cultural differences. Both are ready to bring about the fantasy of the East and West on stage to entertain their fans without having to fly anywhere.” ‘Katya and the Prince of Siam’ starts its world premier (11th Sept) in the comfort of its country of origin, where the handsome Prince Chakrabongse is sent by his father King Rama V of Thailand to the elite Page Corps in Russia; a move that will cement diplomatic ties between Russia and Siam. In Russia, the handsome prince is invited to several parties and at a ball in St Petersburg he meets Katya, a beautiful girl from Kiev.
They fall in love. Their romance isinterrupted by World War I; Katya signs up as a nurse and is sent to the front. The prince is worried about Katya … when she returns, he shares with her his dreams of Siam and proposes marriage. Katya says yes. At first the outsider in Siam, Katya is gradually loved and respected. The ballet incorporates elements of Thai classical dance and is choreographed by Vasily Medvedev of the Bolshoi Theatre. Conducting the orchestra is Mikhai Granovski of the Bolshoi Theatre. The Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the oldest opera theatres in Russia. Vyacheslav Samodurov, Artistic Ballet Director, shared his view on the aesthetic approach to the representation of Thai culture in the show, “Thai classical dance and European classical dance are like two laptops, one has Windows, the other one has Mac: two objects are the same, but operating systems are different.
To combine it together isn’t an easy task. That is why in ballet ‘Katya and the Prince of Siam’, we can talk of the stylisation of Thai traditional dance; it is seen through the perspectiveof European classical choreography. The same applies to the costumes and sets design. In European ballet theatre, there is an old tradition of representing exotic countries, which starts from XIX century. In our performance, this tradition continues, but it is united with contemporary materials and modern masterful manner of performers.
You believe every spectator in Ekaterinburg or in Bangkok can find something close to its heart in this ballet. A modern day adaptation of the romantic classic by William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, ‘West Side Story’ from the USA is set for six staging over four days (5-8th Oct) to enchant the fans with the magic of provocative finger snapping and twirling skirts and the conflicting love between two rivalling gang members on the harsh streets of New York City. This Joey McKneely‘s award-winning production is the only production in the world to feature Jerome Robbins’ original choreography and hands down the unforgettable score of its four creators – Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim. Musical Director and Conductor Donald Chan already conducted West Side Story more than 3,000 times in his life.
Choreographer and Director Joey McKneely learned the original choreography as a dancer of West Side Story directly from Jerome Robbins. After several performances in Europe, the company will perform in Bangkok as well as in Auckland, Bratislava, The Hague, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Manila, Muscat, Paris, Prague, Singapore, Vienna, Tokyo, and Germany. Since the Premier in 2003, the BB Promotion produced West Side Story 6 times for international tours. The company has previously played around 1,500 shows on 4 continents in many countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, UK, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Israel, Australia finally coming to Bangkok with this current world tour. “The festival has been very well received by the expats living in Bangkok and see a good number of direct arrivals from neighbouring countries.
The number of foreign audiences will continue to grow year on year. At this point in time, we are proudly entering the second decade. Tickets are overwhelmingly booked and sold out as soon as they are open for sale. The trick is to be quick,” said Mr Boon-itt. For the aficionados of performing arts and classical music, make sure you always put ‘Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance and Music’ on your calendar and please note that some of the shows will be quickly booked.
The tickets for the ‘Bangkok’s 19th International Festival of Dance and Music’, which runs from September 11th to October 19th, 2017, at the Main Hall, Thailand Cultural Centre, are on sale at www.thaiticketmajor.com, hotline 02- 262-3191, and at the Thai Ticket Major counters nationwide. For more information, visit www.bangkokfestivals.com. This carefully curated programme is not easy to pull off but for the support and sponsorship of Crown Property Bureau, Bangkok Bank (PCL), Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (PCL), BMW Thailand, B.Grimm Group, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Indorama Ventures, Ministry of Culture, Nation Group, PTT (PCL), Singha Corporation, Thai Airways International and Tourism Authority of Thailand.