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.

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