Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mahajanaka at Central World

I've been asked to put on an enormous concert in front of Central World ... in the very place where the "troubles" took place earlier this year.  I'm going to have the opera stars who are in town for the World Opera Week, happening nexr month, sing some very popular tidbits from famous operas, and then I'm going to to perform my Mahajanaka Symphony with Nancy Yuen, soprano, a large choir and orchestra ... probably around 150 performers altogether.  Of course it's rather flattering to see that they're planning 12-foot tall "Somtow banners" and a 22-foot wide ad on the side of the mall, but in the end what I am most proud of is that I have now reached the stage in my career where I can bring a large number of people together to make an important statement about harmony and hope.

The concert is on the King's birthday and it's a coming together of many segments of our society in a way which I hope will promote reconciliation and healing.

I think it's going to be one of the larger open-air concerts there have been in this country, with two orchestras, choir, children's choir, five opera singers, four harps and what have you, but the more important part of this is that many people, musicians of every political persuasion, will be creating harmony where once there was discord.

The event will begin at six with "World of Opera" -- a journey around the world in operatic excerpts.  At seven we pause to bring the candelight ceremony from Sanam Luang and to have our own ceremony.  Then after about 15 minutes, there will be a peformance of my Mahajanaka Symphony which I have revised for this event, improving the orchestral sound with what I have learned from being in Thailand for the last decade and figuring out who the musicians are and what they do best.

What is the Mahajanaka Jataka, adapted by H.M. The King twelve years ago into a lovely book, about?  The lesson we are meant to learn from this Buddhist text is perseverance.  We need to get as far as we can, drawing on our own inner strength, our hopes, our beliefs ... only if we totally give of ourselves can we expect a divine being to lead us the rest of the way to other shore.  This is a lesson common to all religious traditions and I think it's a lesson for Thailand right now.

There are not going to be any "quick fixes" for anything.  But until people realize we are in this together, there won't be any fixes at all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Things We Fear

In this blog from time to time I post a dream I have had the previous night.  I do this for two reasons; one is for myself, to help me remember some strange image or dramatic revelation.  The second is to share something unusual with my friends.  About four nights ago I had a nightmare I didn't post because it frightened me too much.  I didn't post it so that I could forget it; isn't that what happens to dreams that you don't write down?

But it's still here.

I dreamed I was living in what looked like a brownstone house, white carpeted living room, staircase leading to an upper floor.  An intruder enters my house and I saw him in half.  He is a big, African American guy in a dark raincoat.  It's a vivid killing, with spurting gore and plenty of dangling innards, and I place the two halves into big black trash bags.  As I kill this stranger, I realize that I've killed before.

There's a commotion from upstairs and I hear Trisdee and Jay laughing.  I realize I have to hide the body.  There is a kitchen next to the living room and I drag the trash bags into it, and as I step inside, I open the larder and I see that there is no stairway down into any sort of convenient basement; the bags have to stay in the clean white tile kitchen for now.

Confused I go back into the living room and I sit down at a dining table, pick up a phone and try to dial for help.  But just then the kids come running down the stairs.  They are playing, laughing, having a great time, and when the reach the living room they start play-fighting and Jay slips and falls onto the carpet ... which I suddenly realize is still covered with glistening drops of my victim's blood....


The fact that I still remember this vividly four days later must mean something.  The corpse and the trash bags are very black and the house is very white.  That is surely symbolic.  It's a dark thing right here in my house ... and my kids are about to stumble upon it?  I think that for once some classical Freudian scrutiny is probably called for.

But now that I've written this out, it will perhaps exorcise whatever is bothering me and tomorrow I can speak of beautiful, optimistic plans for the future and wonderful epiphanies in literature and music.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Carnival of the Animals....

Something Different ... two days ago, I invited Andrew Biggs to narrate "Carnival of the Animals" for an audience of wildly kids from all around our region.  I thought I'd share the video with you....

Andrew's Thai is of course infinitely better than mine in some ways, with the odd Australianism lending great charm and of course that lovely self-deprecating humor ... it's one of the most congenial collaborations I've ever had....

For a kids' concert to last 2 1/2 hours was pretty amazing though ... I guess I mistimed it!