A Midsummer Night’s Dream Goes Thai

Masters, spread yourselves. It’s Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Bangkok. You heard it right – the opera based on Shakespeare’s play by Benjamin Britten will be staged at Bangkok’s Aksara Theatre by Grand Opera Thailand in partnership with British Council Thailand, featuring leading UK and Thai singers and dancers.

ringing together the different cultural contexts through one of the best known comedies in English literature, there may need to be certain dramatic twists- for example, Puck may need to wander in a more tropical forest in South East Asia. The mastermind behind the production is opera director Stefan Sanchez from England, who has founded two of the biggest opera companies in the UK, the European Chamber Opera in 1992 and Holland Park Opera Resident Company in 1996.

Although a shift from the traditional merry olde England setting, Stefan points to “many positive” aspects of translation. According to the director, who took Mae Naak (an opera about Thai ghost love story) to London last year, there are advantages that allow him to work with more freedom besides “inheriting beauty of tone in the Thai voice” that intrigues him.

As he points out, in the UK “there’s a strong prejudice against opera to be regarded as something far too theatrically complicated and people would only go to the popular operas. The benefit to me is I don’t have to produce the most popular opera; I can produce other very worthy opera.”

Stefan established Grand Opera Thailand last April, hoping it would become a national company providing talented Thai singers with a platform of mastering their performances.

 By Thitipol Panyalimpanun





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