an invitation to become part of the most ambitious project in the history of music and theatre
I am writing to invite you join me in putting together a mighty tribute to this country, to our culture, and to our future: DASJATI - The Ten Lives of the Buddha, which, when it is completed will be the most ambitious work of music theatre in history. DASJATI will be the most extended music drama of all time, consisting of ten linked works of opera, ballet, opera-ballet, and other forms as yet unhybridized.
By the year 2020, it will form the basis of a five-day performance cycle and festival that will be a destination of pilgrimage for lovers of culture, philosophy, music, and art. It will provide employment for singers, dancers, artists and designers — hopefully for decades, even centuries to come. It can draw the eyes of the world's artistic community to Thailand in a bold new way.
I have embarked on this project after ten years of reflection. I came to it quite slowly; in 2010, Opera Vista in Houston produced The Silent Prince, which is about the first of the ten great jataka tales about the Lord Buddha. The production was a sold out success and later played in Thailand in honor of HM The King; this production received praise all over the world. Last year, I mounted Mahajanaka, the second of the jataka tales, as a ballet-opera and again engendered a great deal of international attention. The success of these two creations has led me to embark on the setting of the entire Ten Lives of the Buddha, and this May we will see Bhuridatta, a ballet-opera based on the spectacular sixth jataka, at the Thailand Cultural Center. Further works will follow, performed in the new state of the art Suryadhep Music Sala, in Bangkok, in other parts of the country, until the whole cycle is completed in about five years’ time.
Up till now, the “biggest work of classical music” has been Wagner’s “The Ring Cycle”, which contains four operas and is performed over four nights. The performance of the whole cycle is a very special thing and in Bayreuth, which is a kind of shrine to Wagner, tickets must be reserved ten years in advance. My Ten Lives is a different work in flavor — the lives are musically linked, but I have added dance to the mix of stage, poetry and music so that it takes place in four dimensions of art. Stylistically, the works will form a more varied tapestry — some will be operas, some ballets, some a combination of the two, some short, some long — but the total number of performers for the entire cycle will run into the thousands and a complete cycle will be played over five evenings.
I have reached the closing chapters of my life. I would like to give Thailand this one lasting gift before I die — a gift that continue to renew itself and to feed the wellsprings of culture, education, religion, tourism, and patriotism, and can give employment to artists, singers, musicians, designers, directors, the education and tourism industry for generations to come.
My plan in creating this work is to turn the focus the eyes of the world cultural community firmly on Thailand. Of course, being the “biggest” piece of music in history, it will inevitably attract extramusical attention, appear in the Guiness Book of records and so on, but I hope that in the end its artistic qualities will outshine the sensational aspects.
To create such a monumental project will require a lot of money — around $5 million over a 5 year period — though this is no more than a single production at New York’s Metropolitan Opera might cost, and we are talking ten entire productions. But when you think of it as an investment in the future of this country, what we gain is priceless, and it is enduring.
Therefore I am asking everyone — from individual music lovers to large corporations and government agencies — to pledge something towards this production over the next five years. It could be an annual gift of just 1,000 baht, or it could be 100,000 or a million. Every donation is important. Every donation will make a difference.
I am beginning this project with nothing in hand except my faith in the project, in the potential audience, and in the generosity of potential patrons.
Please join me in making this historic vision a reality.
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