Bangkok’s yearly International Festival of Dance and Music, the premier cultural festival in the city, is eagerly looked forward to by the music and dance cognoscenti of the city. Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the Festival will be held from September 12 to October 18 at the Thailand Cultural Centre with a stunning array of shows that appeal to all ages and tastes. Here's the full lineup of the shows in this year's milestone event.
Carmen, Opera in 4 Acts
7:30pm Wednesday, September 12 / Friday, September 14
George Bizet’s memorable opera Carmen will open the Festival, enacted by Italy’s oldest opera house, Teatro di San Carlo from Naples. The 250-strong troupe, who are coming to Asia for the first time, will be accompanied by their brilliant Teatro di San Carlo Symphony and Chorus who, apart from the opera, will also give two individual performances in the Festival.
Teatro Di San Carlo Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
7:30pm Thursday, September 13 / Saturday, September 15
Led by the legendary conductor Zubin Mehta, Naple's Teatro Di San Carlo Sympohny Orchestra and Chorus will explore two remarkable compositions, Leonore Overture No.3 and Symphony No.9, on the evening of September 13 and the works of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on the second night of performance. As Italy celebrates its 150-year diplomatic relations with Thailand, the newly arrived Italian ambassador to Thailand, HE Galanti Lorenzo, notes that "this amazing cultural event is in perfect harmony with the deep and vibrant cultural ties that have underpinned Italian-Thai relations since King Rama V."
Stunning Virtuosity, Ju Percussion Group, Taiwan
7:30pm Sunday, September 16
This globally renowned music group from Taipei has lifted percussive music to another level by playing a stunning range of drums. They are noted for their amazing repertoire of musical rhythms, from classical to pop, rock and world music, which have taken audiences by storm in more than 30 countries around the world.
The Magnificent Seven Magicians & Illusionists
7:30pm Wednesday, September 19 / Thursday, September 20
A unique, new event that will attract children and families at this year’s Festival is a mega magic show combining talents such as Peter Gossamer (USA), Raul Allegria (Spain), Ariann Black (Canada), Sos and Victoria (Germany) and several others. Chairman Kukoo Uberoi of the Festival notes that the performers are "the top magicians and illusionists from the International Magicians Society of New York.” This will be their first performance in Bangkok.
Break The Tango / Hip Hop
7:30pm Saturday, September 22 / 2:30pm Sunday, September 23
A brilliant amalgam of tango and hip hop, accompanied by a pulsating, live band, this explosive show highlights world-champion dancers from Europe and Asia, including from Thailand. Swiss ambassador HE Ivo Sieber, who is co-hosting the show with the Argentinian ambassador HE Alicia Sonschein (as the main dance-pair are a Swiss and Argentinian couple) describes the show as “a riveting, high-energy show, mixing many dance firms and leaving spectators all over the world mesmerised and captivated.”
Korean Symphony Orchestra
7:30pm, Monday, September 24
One of many top Asian orchestras participating in this year’s Festival, the Korean Symphony Orchestra is its nation's leading national theatre orchesta, and this concert is intended to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Thailand. Among the prominent members of the orchestra are the eminent conductor Chi-Yong Chung and world-famous solo pianist Jiyeong Mun.
Classical Wedding, Singapore Dance Theatre
7:30pm, Wednesday, September 26
Having performed in numerous venues and occasions around the world, this premier Singaporean dance company will be participating in this festival in Bangkok for the first time. They will be enacting the lush and lovely wedding sequences from three famous ballets: Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia and Don Quixote.
Taj Express, Bollywood Musical, India
7:30pm Friday, September 28 / 2:30pm Saturday, September 29
The Taj Express troupe from India is a scintillating music-dance ensemble showcasing a brilliant amalgam of classical and Bollywood music-and-dance forms. Director Shruti Merchant describes the show as “a path-breaking song, dance and drama extravaganza that will entertain and enthrall audiences of all ages.” Her sister Vaibhavi Merchant is the brilliant choreographer of the show, and the two have been associated with many Bollywood films—why top Bollywood stars like Salman Khan have described Taj Express as "one of a kind."
Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra
7:30pm Monday, October 1
One of the top orchestras of the country, Hangzhou's 20-member Philharmonic Orchestra is led by the renowned conductor Yang Yan and will feature the presence of the celebrated solo violinist Ning Feng. This is one for lovers of classical music.
Firebird And Rite Of Spring, Moscow State Classical Ballet, Russia
7:30pm Friday, October 5
The Russian ballets have always been a major highlight of the International Dance and Music Festival, and this year the Moscow State Ballet Company—often called the Ensemble of Stars—is performing a ballet based on a well-known Russian folk tale, set to the music by the great composer Stravinsky. Russian ballets are without a question always the highlights of the Festival. The Russian ambassador to Thailand HE Kirill Barsky, whose four-year term in the country ends this year, proudly notes that it is because of Russia's special dedication to classical art.
Nutcracker, Classical Ballet in 2 Acts, Moscow State Ballet, Russia
2:30pm Saturday, October 6
Natalia Kasatkina’s and Vladimir Vasilyov’s grand Moscow State Ballet performs one of the most famous ballets of all time, The Nutcracker, a script and choreography that weaves the dreams and imaginative powers of children.
The Legend Of Swan Lake And The Ugly Duckling, Moscow State Classical Ballet, Russia
2:30pm Sunday, October 7
A perennial favourite of the old and the young is the marvellous Swan Lake with its memorable music of Tchaikovsky, mixed in with Hans Christian Andersen's children's fable of The Ugly Duckling. A highlight of the production is a performance by 18 young children between the ages of five and eight—proof of the superb ballet-talent in Russia.
Michael Jackson Tribute
7:30pm, Monday, October 8
In keeping with the grand diversity of this year’s programme, on the docket is a Michael Jackson Tribute celebrating the 60th birthday of the late King of Pop. Relive your favourite MJ numbers through a troupe of talented singers and dancers with spectacular sets, lighting and costumes.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Karlsruhe Ballet, Germany
7:30pm Sunday, October 14
A globally renowned German ballet company comprise of dancers from as many as 14 countries, Germany's Karlsruhe Ballet will be performing an excitingly innovative version of Shakespeare’s memorable comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with grand sets, lighting and many magical tricks and surprises. This is another show that will entertain the whole family.
Classical Ballet, Gala By Soloists of Karlsruhe Ballet, Germany
7:30pm Monday, October 15
Starring the best dancers of one of Europe’s most renowned dance companies, this remarkable production features extracts from various classical ballets, reprised with breathtaking virtuosity. This show is highly recommended for sophisticated audiences, ballet lovers and, of course, dancers themselves.
Born To Dance, Los Vivancos, Spain
7:30pm Thursday, October 18
Spanish Flamenco is a dance-form that the Festival has made very popular in the city. This year, the last programme of the International Dance and Music Festival will feature the dynamic Los Vivancos group as they present a unique and dazzling show called Born To Dance, combining old and new rhythms with varied dance forms. Expect everything from Metallica, Deep Purple and Leonard Cohen merged with tap dance, martial arts and even aerial performances. This Spanish flamenco troupe has dazzled audiences in more than 35 countries around the world, including celebrities like actor Antonio Banderas and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.