Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - My Personal Vampire Junction


So, in a couple of hours it will be 2010 here in Bangkok. There's no one in the house. The housekeeper went to the big countdown at Central World, Trisdee went to see Avatar, and Jay went out with friends.

So I'm sitting all alone reflecting on the year that's gone by. For me 2009 was a watershed; one of the best and worst years of my life.

It was the year in which I finally came to my senses and realized I can't save the universe on my own dime. It's the year in which the Bangkok Opera's administrative structure, damaged beyond fixing in 2006 but sustained more or less singlehandedly by throwing my family's money at the hermorrhage, finally crashed and burned because I ran out of fingers to stick in the dike.

But also the year in which I found people who might really rebuild it the way it was always meant to have been built, the year in which we put on two of the finest productions in our history and in which our orchestra finally broke through the international credibility barrier. It was a year of astonishing bad luck followed by amazing last-minute rescues. I think I can honestly say I've aged much more than a year this year. I certainly feel it, physically and emotionally.

This is the year that Trisdee broke through to become an genuine international conductor, and Jay started composing, and Ruaychai become a concertmaster for Mahler symphonies. Basically the year that young people whose talent I discovered and nurtured have all started showing the world what they can do.

My own creative work has stalled, though; my major compositions, the Requiem and Dan no Ura my big Japanese opera remain unfinished, my big fantasy trilogy is on hold. It's really all because the details of opera admin have been weighing everything down.

So, I got to "the vampire junction that sucks your soul away," and I hope I've turned in the right direction now. Away from the soul-sucking. My new year's resolution, if anything, is to remember to be more selfish.

I want to avoid another 2009, but I'm not quite sure how to yet ...

Seaweep Soup


Gaze upon the splendour of this menu, from a small restaurant somewhere on Rama III Road. Of course, the "hot curry with mixed crap" takes the cake, but I am also pretty proud of the "seaweep" soup.

I suppose it's a reference to the high sodium chloride content of both the ocean and human tears.

Thus, by expansion, making the sea a metaphor for human suffering and frailty.

What poetry is to found in the humble typo!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Review of "Dances with Aliens"


I wrote this review of AVATAR that appeared in THE NATION yesterday ...

"DANCES WITH ALIENS"
a personal perspective on "Avatar"
by S.P. Somtow

In 1977, Memorial Day, I sat with hundreds of salivating members of the Washington Science Fiction Association at the very first showing of STAR WARS. It was explosive. The packed theatre was alive. Every effect was greeted by applause and cheering. The world of nerdy sci-fi readers had suddenly become cool. The next decades were bittersweet as the masses began to infiltrate — some might say dilute — the purity of fandom's somewhat elitist vision of itself. But there is no doubt that STAR WARS' tropes — the Deathstar, "Use the Force", and so on — have become as entrenched in contemporary mythology as Achilles and Hector were to children of ancient times.

For almost 30 years, the science fiction community has been waiting for another such epiphany. Which AVATAR almost is. Its virtues as science fiction are considerable, its effects stunning and more than worth the price of admission. They are almost enough to drown out that little cynical inner voice that's bitching and moaning about the idiotic plot and stupefying dialogue.

No effort has been spared to make an alien world real. If you watch this film in 3-D, you will spend a lot of time being impressed. First of all, it's tasteful, not in-your-face, and the specs can be worn over your own glasses without any discomfort. The screen looks like a window out into a genuine universe. There's nothing contrived. There doesn't have to be, because the planet Pandora has been created with lavish and loving precision. It's a world that has been realized with such conviction and totality that you buy into it completely. It the film were a Galactic Geographic documentary, it would score a perfect ten.

Another example of the depth of detail in this film's world-building is the fact that the Navi language is so much a real language that I felt like pulling out a notepad and making grammatical notes. Some of my linguistic hunches were confirmed when I researched it onine later — it's a highly inflected language with a very fluid word-order, a rather limited set of phonemes, and fascinating grammar.

James Cameron has stated that the movie contains all the science fiction he ever read as a child, and that is easy to believe. Although the parallels with "Dances with Wolves" are obvious and, I believe, deliberate, the idea of a perfect Eden about to be wrecked by an uncomprehending, technology-inclined human race is one of the most important themes in science fiction. My first encounter with it as a child was in Theodore Sturgeon's classic novelette The Skills of Xanadu and James Blish's catholic take on the trope, A Case of Conscience, in which a priest reaches the conclusion that the utopian planet must be a creation of Satan because its inhabitants have no concept of original sin. Ursula le Guin's The Word for World is Forest is also an almost exact novelistic foreshadowing of this film. All these works and hundreds more are in AVATAR. There's probably even a nod to my own very tall, blue-skinned, sexy race of Selespridar in a series I wrote that was very popular in the 1980s.

It's therefore clear that Avatar has impeccable sources (one of which is not the famous science fiction novel The Avatar by Poul Anderson). My quarrel with the film is not with its sources — there really are no original stories per se — as with the fact that the sources are only half-digested, giving us a screenplay that insults the intelligence from time to time.

So in the end — yes, it's mindblowing all right. I will probably see Avatar several times in order to appreciate the complexity and beauty of its vision. But ultimately it's not the epiphany that the first STAR WARS was. In fact, it possesses the same problems that the second STAR WARS trilogy, impressive thought it looks, has. Like those three films, it's a film that treads old ground, more grandly and more spectacularly, and in travelling the safe way toward riches has given up some of the most important elements that made STAR WARS classic. The wit, for starters. STAR WARS was funny: AVATAR takes itself far, far too seriously. The character reversals: in AVATAR the lines of good and evil are drawn right from the start and never change. I was rather hoping that the nasty CEO running the planet would suddenly turn out to be a good guy, for instance, but all storytelling subtleties are sacrificed on the altar of special effects.

Having said all these things, which must be said in the interests of a fair critique, I'm still going to go back for another helping. As Obiwan Kenobi so trenchantly tells us, "Let go your conscious self!" You'll love it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Getting Serious About Creativity


I wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister which appeared in today's edition of The Nation. Originally, I'd written a 2,500-word piece which really got into the nitty gritty of how the future might play out, but maybe all those details are best left for a genuine strategy session, if I were ever lucky enough to be invited to one.

Dec 21, 2009

Dear Prime Minister:

It was an honour to perform excerpts from Bruce Gaston’s extraordinary A Boy and a Tiger for you yesterday. It prompts me to write you this letter in a spirit of optimism and hope.

I am writing to you on behalf of my fellow Distinguished Silpathorn Artist Bruce Gaston and myself, but I believe I speak for all creative people in this country and Thai artists in other countries.

Recently Ajarn Bruce and I and many other artists were invited by the Ministry of Culture to two very different meetings. One was an intimate meeting with the Office for Contemporary Culture. As artists, we gave our forthright opinions and we all felt that our government was listening to us. We had a real sense that our ideas would be incorporated into policy.

The other was a huge seminar attended by hundreds of people in which government officials tried to lecture us benighted artists on the meaning of creativity and our function in society. Artists were incensed and some walked out.

The contrast between these two perspectives compels me to write. A renaissance of national consciousness may come to a halt while we wait for bureaucrats to reinvent the wheel.

When Ajarn Bruce and I began working together in the 1970s, Thailand was reeling from what, in the 1940s, was a traumatic cultural revolution. Thai classical music, vibrant and innovative in the early twentieth century, had been rejected in a rash policy of westernization. When traditional arts came back, the backlash caused an overreaction. Invention and creativity were replaced by rote-learning. No one challenged what was preserved, whether masterpiece or mediocrity.

In the 1970s a small group of artists flung open the doors. Bruce Gaston’s operas, like Chuchok, and my own fusion of Thai and western classical music, played out against the backdrop of the Bhirasri center, which showcased uniquely Thai contemporary visual arts. In a 1977 interview in Asia Week, I predicted that we would be the world’s next cultural hub.

By 1979, we were exhausted. We’d survived a lifetime’s worth of artistic ferment. We believed it was a noble but failed experiment. Bruce and I didn’t collaborate again for 30 years except to create, together, the songs “Thailand, the Golden Paradise” and “Amazing Thailand,” still used by the Tourism Ministry to sell Thailand to the outside world.

Thirty years later, I came home and made some startling discoveries.

First off, our revolution succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. What we did has infiltrated into every level of popular culture and become part of the definition of “Thai-ness”.

Some pundits view those two events — the slamming of the doors during the 1940s and their re-opening in the 1970s — as the last century’s two pivotal moments in Thai music. But what’s past is past, and we must look to the future.

Since those two meetings, I feel a sense of urgency. The government is committing a sizeable investment into our nation’s future. Funds are limited and we have to nurse our resources.

I propose four essential principles in putting creativity to work for this country.

First: we must stop dreaming that Thailand should become what it already is — the epicenter of creativity in the region. Everyone knows this except the Thais themselves. Please study what has already been achieved here, often against incredible odds.

For example, in my field of opera, Thailand is the acknowledged regional leader. Our productions are reviewed in the New York Times, Financial Times, and all the international opera magazines. We have achieved this on creativity alone, because, we don’t receive the 80% government subsidy that a European opera company does.

Second: Get perceptive people with a global perspective to oversee your policy. Otherwise, creativity will be overwhelmed by mediocrity. Really make excellence a priority; don’t pay lip service to it as previous regimes have done.

Third: Fund creativity and creative projects directly. Established artistic entities and artists should receive direct and substantial subsidies. If symphony orchestras, major opera companies, khon troupes, and avant-garde theatre groups get real money every year, you will see the investment repaid a thousandfold. We are not talking here about commercialism, but real culture, our national identity.

Finally, I must propose the most difficult thing for a paternalistic government to accept. But, having first learned to stop reinventing the wheel, having then set your eye on the truly excellent, and having made sure that those who are genuinely creative have the means with which to create … the final thing government must do is let go.

Please look at the BBC, a wholly government-funded institution which nevertheless has a charter stating firmly that the government cannot interfere in any creative matter. Government must trust us. We are your conscience. It is we who speak the truth, even when it is painful for the nation to hear.

Please consider carefully this simple, four-step plan for a true creative economy. If you can set up the infrastructure for it to happen, the country’s finest artists will rally for a creative flowering such has not been seen since the Ayuthaya period. I guarantee that the diaspora of Thai talent will reverse itself. Though I am one of the first Thai artists to have come home, I am confident that I will not be the last.

This moment in our cultural history is the vindication of what we dreamed of decades ago. A Siamese Renaissance, set in motion thirty-five years ago amid distrust, controversy, and apathy, is upon us. What we have prophesied has come to pass and, with the full cooperation of the government, can take us to places even we dreamers cannot yet dream of.

With my best wishes



Somtow Sucharitkul

World Fantasy Award Winner
Distinguished Silapathorn Artist

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Duo, in the Sun

Photos courtesy of the brilliant Boaz Zippor

Today I had a new experience ... I conducted excerpts from Bruce Gaston's opera A Boy and a Tiger for the first time. I want to tell you about this because, at my age, one rarely turns new corners. One's life gets set on autopilot, and many doors flung open with abandon in one's youth have creakily shut themselves.

It took a long time to reach this point because Bruce and I are polar opposites in every way, creatively in particular. There are essentially two ways to compose: the Mozart way, where you finish it all in your head and it bursts out, fully formed, onto the page, and the Beethoven way, where every agonizing step of the process is external: the endless drafts, the starts and stops, the slow chiselling away of the intractable marble. All my life I've tended to the former, and for the last thirty-five years have marvelled at Bruce Gaston coping with the latter.

The advantage of the first way is that when you produce what appears to be a first draft, it can go straight into prodution, but the disadvantage is that people think you are facile, because they don't see the agony. You become known for "whipping things off" because no one sees what you go through. The second way has the advantage that people immediately know the hell you have to go through, but initial versions of your score may be very far from the final thing.


One consequence of Bruce's inimitable method of composing is that I didn't actually see the score I was to conduct until the night before — technically, an hour before, because he emailed me a revision as I was getting into the car to go to the park.


But from the first minute of rehearsing the opera in the open, behind a nineteenth-century Siamese fort by the river, in the blazing sun, I could feel the magic of this production. I didn't think the fifty or so kids — not professional musicians — Bruce has commandeered from all over the country would be able to watch a conductor, but that was the first miracle of the day. They had never been conducted, yet they instinctively watched for their entries and followed the beat. And I realized that I was in fact the missing piece of Bruce's puzzle. I've experienced many performances of excerpts — practically the entire opera by now — by these kids with Bruce trying to direct and play the piano at the same time (the piano will be replaced by a large symphony orchestra in the final version) — and there was still something a bit fuzzy about this opera. something out of focus. It was amazing and humbling to discover that that catalyst was me.

To find out that you're the missing variable in Einstein's equation … that was truly stunning. Because there's no doubt that Tiger is a work of profound genius, even though not many can yet imagine the final product. Knowing Bruce as I have for so long, I have always been able to extrapolate the final product from the hints that have been dropped so far, but yesterday afternoon I felt that I had a real hand in making the outside world able to really perceive that finished opera which is still four months away.

The other miracle of the day was the rapport between me and Nong Mai, the kid who plays the lead in the opera. The way we were able to communicate in performance was so total, I have only had the same experience before with a few other artists ... all of whom I would consider world-class. But it was not a rapport that came from years of training. It came from this kid innocently and passionately putting his whole life in my hands for the duration of the performance. He's had an awful life, growing up with HIV and probably trusting few outsiders, but for the duration of the performance he totally let me do the "Vulcan mind meld" with him. That was awe-inspiring.

Well now the fact that the prime minister, the governor of Bangkok, and all the various top brass of the democratic party were sitting two feet away was also pretty astonishing.

I don't know how Abhisit managed to look so cool. The rest of us were sweating like pigs....

Friday, December 18, 2009

GUSTAV’S ANGELS - Sign Up Here

Dear Friend of the Siam Philharmonic:

Mahler & the Siam Philharmonic

Perhaps you were present at the breakthrough concert in 2004 when the Siam Philharmonic became the first non-student orchestra in Thailand to do a Mahler Symphony (No. 4) or at the extraordinary concert earlier this year of Mahler's Fifth Symphony which really put Thailand on the international Mahler map, drawing praise from members of the international Mahler society and from conductors and critics around the world. If you were not there, the concerts continue to have a life of their own through youtube.com and through the distribution of DVDs.

The Full Cycle

Inaugurating a planned complete Mahler Cycle that will take place over the next three to five years, the Siam Phllharmonic and I have worked hard to arrive at a philosophical reading of Mahler which draws as much from Buddhist thought as from the passions of the European late- Romantic tradition.

The Thai Connection

The Ninth Symphony, scheduled to be performed on January 20th, is an ultimate meditation on the nature of death and one of the most profound works of Western art. But strangely enough, its opening theme is note-for-note identical to that of a contemporaneous piece of classical Thai music called "Waves lapping on the Shore" ... and when you understand the metaphor of "the farthest shore" being what lies beyond the ocean of life itself, you realize that here in Thailand we have a unique opportunity to showcase this cultural synchronicity.

When I pointed out this strange thematic congruence to Bruce Gaston, he agreed to open our performance of Mahler's Ninth with a performance of "Waves lapping on the Shore" by Thailand's most famous fusion orchestra, Fong Naam.

This will be the first time in the history of music that these two works will be played in the same concert.

Gustav's Angels

The Siam Philharmonic is scrambling for funding for this important project. For the Mahler 5 concert earlier this year, certain expected sources of funding were not forthcoming at the last minute and I advanced my entire royalty payment for the composition of a new piece
in order to allow the concert to proceed. The board of directors of parent organization, the Bangkok Opera, have indicated that I must stop subsidizing this project out of my own pocket and that the Mahler Project cannot continue unless it is self-sustaining.

Because of this, I am appealing to our audience. If you would like this important cultural project to continue, we need to have a certain amount of cash in hand beforehand. General ticket sales will cover some, but not all of our costs.

What we need to ensure that the Mahler Nine concert can proceed is one hundred special people who will champion this cause. Therefore, I am offering one hundred "Gustav's Angels" a very special deal. If you agree to contribute 5,000 baht to the Mahler Nine Concert, you will
receive a special VIP seat at the concert and an invitation to an exclusive wine reception which will be hosted by the board of the opera.

You may choose to donate more, of course, and if so your contribution will go towards the next installment in the Mahler Cycle. The names of all 100 Gustav's Angels will appear in the programme book and we will continue to carry your name in programme books
until the cycle is completed.

The idea of this programme is to ensure the continuation of one of the most interesting and significant cross-cultural projects in recent years.

Please consider becoming one of "Gustav's Angels". 100 of the very best seats in the theatre have been reserved for you "Gustav's Angels". Your donation will not only bring you to the concert but also allow many music students and young music lovers to experience Mahler live at a price they can afford.

To join this very exclusive club, send me an email directly at intendant@bangkokopera.com
A Bangkok Opera person will contact you about how to make payment and collect your invitation to the reception as well get your details for the programme book.

You may also contribute directly, right now, via paypal and your credit card by clicking the link below.





Best wishes
Somtow Sucharitkul
Music Director
Siam Philharmonic Orchestra

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Have Seen the Dragons on the Wind of Morning



I posted The Nation's review of the World Opera Week below only to show that it's not just me saying that the Bangkok Opera has reached an artistic peak this year.

I'm waiting with baited breath for the results of another meeting of the Bangkok Opera's new junta, which is supposed to occur this week.

We are not out of the woods, but it is important to acknowledge that one is in the woods so that one can beat a path out to the next clearing....

Meanwhile I am having a great vacation (not much of one to some, perhaps, but it's been amazing just to go to Madame Tussaud's with my child ... and run screaming through a haunted mansion ... and other mindless pursuits.



Today, my young concertmaster Ruaychai turned up to go through Mahler 9, but somehow found time to watch the entire first Star Wars trilogy.

I discovered a remarkable thing. One discovers such wonders, when one has a moment to think, a luxury denied me until I fired myself from the opera. This is what I discovered:

The opening of Mahler 9 is chillingly similar to the opening of an early 20th century Thai classical piece, Waves beating on the Shore. They have in fact the exact same melody, treated in a very similar way. And when you understand "the shore" as a metaphor for death (as in Ursula leGuin's The Farthest Shore, one of the books that most influenced me as an artist ... from whose pages the title of this post is taken, btw) ... when you understand this what you see is that two vastly different cultures, at the same historical moment, hit on the same sequence of notes and found in it an identical meaning.

So, I talked to Bruce Gaston about it and the minute he actually thought about it, he realized it as epiphanically as I had.

So, on January 20, we are going to preface the Thailand premiere of Mahler 9 with Fong Naam performing that work.

It's a connection that could only have been made in Thailand. So, distant as we may seem from the world of turn-of-the-century Austria, there are strange confluences, and new ways in

Of course, I'm going to have to come up with money for this concert, as the Bangkok Opera is in reorganization mode. The Siam Philharmonic is only allowed to do revenue-neutral events. We can be ground-breaking, but not bank-breaking.

So I've hit on this idea: I want to find 100 "Gustav's Angels" for each concert in the Mahler Cycle. Each one has but to to donate the modest sum of 100 Euros for all the costs to be covered. Can it be done? Would anyone reading this like to become one of these very special people? Get in touch with me and you will get four major perks for becoming one of Gustav's Angels ... (a) a VIP seat at the concert should you wish it (b) an invitation to the exclusive diplomatic reception after the show (c) your name published in the list of Angels in the program book (d) the joy of knowing that you've subsidized free or low-cost tickets for many students and young music lovers who otherwise couldn't experience Mahler live in Thailand....

How about it, guys?

World Opera Week reviewed in THE NATION

Photo by Boaz Zippor

World opera week lives up to expectations

By THE NATION
Published on December 17, 2009

From 'Boheme' to Beethoven, there's plenty of aural delight from the Bangkok Opera

The Bangkok Opera's second World Opera Week, five years after the first, opened last month with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and closed with its most popular tear-jerker, "La Boheme".

Along the way there was enough spectacle and excitement to uphold Bangkok's place as the epicentre of opera in Southeast Asia.

Somtow Sucharitkul and Bruce Gaston presented a sneak preview on November 15 of "An Alien Opera" at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. An orchestra, chorus and singer Zion Daoratanahong improvised a weird fantasia involving a giant robot that just happened to be standing in the atrium, courtesy of the visiting "Twist and Shout" exhibition of contemporary Japanese art.

Although deliberately designed to be gibberish, the opera was surprisingly comprehensible. As Somtow explains, "There are a few universal stories that all art tells."

More sneak previews followed. On November 19 at the Stock Exchange of Thailand auditorium, the Thailand premiere of the newly discovered "Ave Maria" composed by Puccini was sung by tenor Israel Lozano. The Bangkok Opera HIV Awareness Project, featuring performances by talented children, some of them living with HIV, was one of the most visible features of the festival.

The Puccini presentation didn't make up for the announced delay in what would have been the festival's climactic event - the premiere of Bruce Gaston's "A Boy and a Tiger".

That's been postponed until spring because of safety issues with the complex staging, but a large part of the opera was heard during the SET preview, and the next day as well at the Fest der Deutschen at the Shangri-La Hotel. It was certainly enough to whet the appetite.

On November 23 the festival opened with an idiomatic, highly charged performance of Beethoven's "Symphony No 9 in D minor", using the soloists who were already in town for "La Boheme", as well as members of six different choirs, Thai and Japanese.

The performance showed the Siam Philharmonic in top form and demonstrated that its triumphant Thai premiere of Mahler's "Symphony No 5" last July was no fluke.

Somtow has moulded the symphony with the youngest average age in the country into an ensemble with an enviable grasp of style.

The festival's closer "La Boheme" evoked a hearty response from its audience, which ought to have been much larger because this truly was opera on an international level, with a near-ideal cast.

Although Israel Lozano - Placido Domingo's big "discovery" - was sensational, as expected, and Nancy Yuen's deeply felt Mimi was in top form, the surprise of the production was young Thai soprano Zion Daoratanahong.
She certainly proved up to the challenge of her first big role among some of the world's most experienced singers. Darren Royston's direction was frenetic, with five dogs, angels, clowns, ballet dancers, and even a Bollywood sequence racing through the second act.

By the morning of the final performance, the buzz was on the Internet.

The reviewer at NotesfromThailand.com raved, "The Bangkok Opera's production of 'La Boheme' is world-class at every level, yet still infused with all the love and enthusiasm of any community-theatre production that's born out of the participants' love for one another in celebration of art and culture.

"Some opening-night audience members commented they'd been mysteriously transported to London or Milan or New York without ever leaving the Thailand Cultural Centre."

"I may be a rank sentimentalist," wrote David Giler, producer of the "Alien" series, "but I was moved and I loved it. It was particularly fun to go with somebody who'd never heard it before and was completely knocked out by it.

"The singing and staging was superb, and the orchestra has never sounded better. It was first-rate by any standard."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello


Three weeks ago, I resigned from the Bangkok Opera, effective December 1. I didn't do this for temperamental reasons, but because I want the Bangkok Opera to become a real opera company, not Somtow's insane folly. I am tired of playing the Klaus Kinski role in Fitzcarraldo.

When I founded the opera ten years ago, my goal was create a viable national opera. But the word "viable" means "able to exist without Somtow." About four years ago, this goal seemed on the verge of being achieved. We had the beginnings of proper funding, we had a semi-permanent production team in place, we had more or less a PR department and a publications department. In the last two to three years, by a slow attrition, all the jobs have devolved upon me, and I have also been forced to pay for the opera out of my own pocket or by borrowing money from friends and relatives.

Artistically, this is has been our best year. After three near-collapses, we have what everyone acknowledges to be the most accomplished opera orchestra in the whole region and one that has achieved tremendous successes outside opera as well -- Mahler 5 and Beethoven 9 were two of our most successful concerts. We have had the two most consistently high-standard opera productions in our history back to back. Both our "Thais" and "Boheme" productions would clearly not have been out of place in most of the world's opera houses.

However, during the month of November, I found stuck myself with all the major jobs myself. I had to stay up all night designing the programme book, had to rush from meeting to meeting to raise money and had to foot the bill myself when those meetings did not bear fruit quickly enough. I had to postpone receiving my own salary (which is almost all given back to the opera anyway). I had to do the rehearsal schedule, track down props, try to persuade world class artists to work cheap, auction off some of my personal belongings, and deal with a host of problems from which the artistic director of an opera company is normally protected.

When I submitted my resignation to the board, I explained that I could not both kill myself physically and emotionally AND simultaneously bankrupt myself ... that there was a physical limit beyond which my messiah complex could not grow.

I told them that if they radically change the way the opera company operates, I would consider coming back as artistic director -- JUST artistic director. Which was the original intention. To be a real opera company, not a vanity project.

A week after my bombshell which just happened to coincide with our most artistically successful production ever, four members of the Bangkok Opera inner circle had a secret meeting and outlined a plan for finally putting the "Vanity Project" label to rest.

It might just work, and my much-needed vacation might just be cut short. More news shortly!