Siam Sinfonietta at Prague’s Academy of Carrying out Arts with the brand-new Thai ambassador Ureerat Chareontoh and the previous Czech ambassador to Thailand Vítezslav Grepl in participation. Tomáš Bazika

Somtow Sucharitkul and Siam Sinfonietta previously this month offered a fantastic performance in the Czech Republic’s capital, Prague, as part of their European trip. The occasion was considerable for a number of factors. It marked the best on the Old Continent of Voraprach Wongsathapornpat’s piece Forehead Of Kyoto, Trisdee Na Patalung’s Repair, and Somtow’s Helena Citrónová suite. For a number of the young artists, the trip occasioned their sneak preview in Europe and “their very first time coming across the specific heat of the Czechs and the strength of their love for music”. The thrilled audience at Prague’s Academy of Carrying out Arts (HAMU) bestowed a long standing ovation on Somtow and Sinfonietta for their fully grown musicality.

The centrepiece of the program was an orchestral suite of 4 scenes from Somtow’s brand-new opera Helena Citrónová The opera sets to music the real story of a “lovely and frightening relationship” in between a Slovak Jewish lady, a slave in a The second world war prisoner-of-war camp, and an SS jail guard called Franz Wunsch. Somtow saw a BBC documentary and might not get the topic out of his mind. He discusses what drew him to Citrónová: “The story has numerous things to inform us today. It asks concerns that make us question all that makes us human. What is love, in the end? And can enjoy perhaps exist in a scenario as severe as Auschwitz?”

Somtow dealt with the fragile subject sensitively. Siam Sinfonietta’s best of the Citrónová suite had a radiant reception in Slovakia, where the orchestra appeared on tv news. The author has actually handled the Holocaust in music in the past, when he staged– with the aid of the Czech embassy in Bangkok– Hans Krása’s kids’s opera Brundibár, the very first Czech opera to have actually been carried out in Thailand. Throughout the war, Brundibár was carried out more than 50 times inside the Theresienstadt prisoner-of-war camp by kids sent to prison there. For the Thailand production of Brundibár, Thai kids produced their own outfits with Jewish stars in a moving gesture of regard.

Somtow will provide the opening night of the total Citrónová in January 2020 in Bangkok to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the freedom of Auschwitz. According to Marek Klimeš, director of the Czech music celebration Festa Musicale, productions of Citrónová in the Czech Republic and Slovakia remain in talks. Klimeš has actually worked thoroughly on Siam Sinfonietta’s 2019 trip. He is understood for arranging the global choir celebration Grand Prix Thailand. The yearly celebration happens in Pattaya and is slated for its 13th version in July 2020.

On the very same celebration, a book of Somtow’s narratives equated into Czech was released. Entitled A Day In Mallworld, it includes 4 stories, of which 3 have actually been equated by the Czech diplomat and good friend of Somtow of thirty years, Jaroslav Olša Jr, who arranged the publication with Zdenek Rampas, a kept in mind Czech science-fiction publisher. It is the very first literary work by a Thai author to be equated and released in the notoriously tough Czech language. The book launch prior to the performance was co-organised by the Czech-Thai Society in Prague. The brand-new Thai ambassador to the Czech Republic, Ureerat Chareontoh, supported the performance and hosted a reception for the artists.

Possibly the most striking minute of the night was Sassaya Chavalit’s inspired performance of Helena Citrónová‘s soprano aria. She sang wonderfully:

Somtow Sucharitkul and the previous Czech ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olša Jr at the Day In Mallworld book launch with the well-known Prague castle in the background. Pictures thanks to Tomáš Bazika

Sassaya embodied Helena’s isolation. Her poignant singing used to transfer each listener to a location beyond reach. The extremely effective music covered the auditorium with a brief darkness till a twinkle of hope emerged. Somtow stated he was interested by Citrónová’s unclear quality. His music renders uncertainty in such a way that makes it a virtue; it allows each person to draw his/her own individual analysis of the work. We are delegated consider that, in taking mankind from our victims, we lose our own mankind. Helena is a lady who, in spite of being caught in hell, declined to quit her personhood. However the opera is likewise the story of Wunsch, who “discovered redemption in this lady’s rejection, redemption in the very thing that he had actually been taught not to consider an individual”.

Musically, Somtow accomplishes uncertainty by pioneering a brand-new compositional approach of integrating 2 relatively incompatible methods. “Rigorous 12-tone music is put on top of rising romantic consistencies,” he states; nevertheless, “their impact ought to be subliminal”. For example, in Sassaya’s aria, the music in between her singing is serial– mathematically controlled– whereas the aria itself remains in a “really slowed-down klezmer mode”. If the function of serial music is to get away tonality, then Somtow’s method accepts it. The music just shows the dichotomy of the entire opera: a Jew falling for a Nazi. An informing example of Somtow’s usage of musical type to develop significance is the four-note “train” theme, very first heard in the Overture, which “weaves itself into every element of the opera, like an injury that can not be eliminated”.

Half of the program came from a Czech youth orchestra. The Nové Mesto nad Metují Philharmonic carried out a pleasing choice of works by Bizet, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. The most remarkable were the fascinating violin fireworks by Petr Zdvihal in Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen ( Gypsy Airs), with great orchestral textures highlighted by conductor Jaroslav Rybácek. A palpable sense of partnership in between 2 outstanding orchestras, Thai and Czech, penetrated the night, which sealed the pleasant relations in between the 2 nations. In closing, Siam Sinfonietta offered a warm reading of Alexandra, among King Rama IX’s cherished love tunes, with a violin solo played splendidly by Kye Teesin. Having actually carried out in Munich, Budapest, Bratislava and Prague, the Thai orchestra went on to Baden-Baden for the last performance of their trip prior to going back to Bangkok.

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