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“CHARIOT OF HEAVEN” MARKS 100 DAY MEMORIAL FOR LATE KING

           Opera Siam will present the fifth work in DasJati - Ten Lives of the Buddha to coincide with the marking of the 100th Day since the passing of His Late Majesty King Rama IX. Chariot of Heaven (Phra Nemiraj) is the story of King Nemi, a Boddhisatva who who pledges to spend eighty-four thousand generations on a journey towards understand the dhamma, who becomes a king so perfect in the dhamma that the gods themselves summon him to heaven to preach to them.
          Originally scheduled to appear in March, Opera Siam received a request from the Department of Cultural Promotion to move the production forward to take place during the 100th Day rites. Composer Somtow said, "We can see a parallel between the idea of a Dhammaraja being summoned to heaven and with the emotions many of us are going through now." 
          Chariot of Heaven is a major production, with big set pieces. Among them, a large dance number representing the passing of 84,000 generations with a whole panorama of human history, a Dantean vision of Hell and a ensemble number for the thirty-three gods of the "Tavatimsa" Heaven which is the first operatic number ever composed for thirty-three separate simultaneous solo voices.
          In all, almost two hundred musicians, dancers, singers, actors, extras, and crew personnel are behind this production. Celebrity cameos will adorn the "33 Gods" number and the entire production will be conducted by Trisdee na Patalung and directed by the composer.
          Chariot of Heaven is part of Somtow's work in progress, DasJati - Ten Lives of the Buddha, which when completed will be, according to Asian Nikkei magazine, "the largest integrated work in classical music — ever." Comprising ten full length works of music drama performed over a five-day period, DasJati is designed to draw Buddhists as well as music lovers from around the world and to be a vehicle to teach the dhamma as well as providing employment for artists, musicians, dancers, singers, directors and designers for generations to come. 
          With Chariot of Heaven, five of the ten works will have been produced. The first work in the series, The Silent Prince, has received rave reviews in different productions in Houston, Texas, Bayreuth, Germany, and Prague and Brno in Czech Republic. 
          In this special year dedicated to the memory of our late King, Opera Siam also plans a revival of Sama: The Faithful Son, first performed in Rangsit in 2015, and the world premiere of the sixth opera in the series, Architect of Dreams, in October. 
          The performances will take place on 20-22 January 2017 at the Thailand Cultural Center, Main Hall. Admission to the four performances of Chariot of Heaven is without charge, but online reservations are strongly recommended. Go towww.operasiam.com for a link to make reservations.