Bangkok’s best-known cultural festival, now in its 19th year, has a dazzling variety of shows, including stunning ballet world premieres, spectacular magic show, superstar kids’ performance, sizzling flamenco and superb orchestras.
The International Festival of Dance and Music is back in the city again, with gourmet programs, that the Chairman of the organizing International Cultural Promotions Ltd, J. S Uberoi, hopes will make Bangkok “on par with the other culture capitals of the world.”
For starters, there is an amazing array of Russian ballets to celebrate the 120th year of diplomatic Relations between Russia and Thailand. Opening ballet Katya and the Prince of Siamhas been specially commissioned for this, and is a world premiere. Based on the real-life romance and marriage of Prince Chakrabongse, son of King Rama V to a beautiful Russian girl Katya, during his long stay in that country, the production is a gorgeous amalgam of Russian ballet and Thai classical dance, with grand costumes, sets, and music from both countries.The ballet will be performed by the Ekaterinburg Ballet & Opera Theatre, considered one of the top ballet schools in Russia. They will also perform a unique version of Cinderella, with the memorable music of Sergei Prokofiev, interspersed with some modern dance sequences.
Another top ballet school, the Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theatre, will perform two historical ballets, with grandiose sets, costumes, music – Spartacus, based on the famous Greek legend; and Le Corsaire, based on the poem by well-known poet Byron.
Festivalgoers can enjoy two more unique ballet productions from top European groups. The first is an arresting version of Beauty and the Beast, set to Tchaikovsky’s memorable music, by the dynamic French Malandain Ballet Biarritz group. The ballet “deals with the duality of being”, according to the Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy.
The second is Shakespeare’s riotous comedy Taming of the Shrew, performed by the renowned Stuttgart Ballet from Germany. This infact, is one of their hallmark productions with enough wild dances and comic acts to entertain the whole family
Among the other dance programs, are two vibrant flamenco performances – Torera, a strong and symbolical tale, and the ever-popular Carmen, with unique jazz and salsa movements, by the well-known Antonio Andrade Flamenco Co of Andalucía, which is the heart of the flamenco culture in Spain.
The music element of the festival will be provided by the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the top five orchestras of China,who have collaborated with the best musical artistes of the world. They will introduce one of the country’s best-known global solo violinists, Li Siqing, to Bangkok’s audiences.
Another grand orchestra will be the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, performing at the festival for the first time. This orchestra is nearly eight decades old, and has played at the top concert halls of the world, with globally renowned conductors.
The festival introduces a Broadway musical for the first time – none other than West Side Story, considered the No 1 American Musical Theatre of all time, with Leonard Bernstein’s memorable musical scores, and a dazzling multinational cast.
Two new and outstanding events at the festival will be a spectacular magic show by renowned Swiss magician Peter Marvey, considered the best illusionist in the world today, and will include everything from flying carriages to magic carpets and levitating bodies.
Another first-time show at the festival is the Flying Superkids, from Denmark, consisting of a group of young, super-talented gymnasts, acrobats, musicians, dancers, who have wowed audiences around the world. The 19th International Festival of Dance and Music indeed promises plenty of scintillating entertainment for the entire family. The 19th International Festival of Dance & Music will be held from September 11 to October 19 at Thailand Cultural Centre. All shows start at 7:30pm.