Thu, 11 Aug 1994

Ten opera artists to perform here

JAKARTA (JP): Opera is getting increasingly multicultural, as Jakarta audiences and performers will see for themselves in a one-night performance of the best loved arias of several operas tonight.

Ten artists, including American, Lebanese, Welsh, Ukraine, Philippine and Indonesian performers, will participate in the Sime Darby Le Grand Opera 1994. The event named after its main sponsor, a Malaysian multinational company.

Baritone and tour leader of the American Artists International group, Adib Fazah, promised that the event at the Sahid Jaya Hotel and Tower, Central Jakarta, "will bring out the best" in each artist.

The repertoire will include pieces from Rigoletto and Faust, featuring tenor Rico Serbo, basso Stefan Szkafarowsky, mezzo soprano Gwendolyn Jones, pianist Oksana Protenic, tenor Noel E. Velasco, soprano Patrice Boyd and baritone Pranadjaja.

Fazah said audience appreciation is increasing, as indicated by the group's several visits to Asia which includes a fourth to Jakarta. Also, because of increased efforts to popularize opera -- especially through the use of television -- there has been an increase in the number of young aspirants to the art. This, in turn, has led to the opening of opera schools in Asia including Shanghai.

Soprano Pamela Kucenic added that the universality of the opera lies in its scope of "every emotion and all moralities of the world."

In Tuesday's meeting with the press, the artists shared their desire to bring back opera to its original purpose -- as a popular art form instead of a cultural event with an elitist image.

Indonesia's Catherina Wewengkang Leimena said that, since the 1960s, Indonesia has had only one opera composition based on local mythology -- the Loro Djonggrang written by Tri Sutji Kamal.

Organizer Kunto Wibisono said he expected an audience of 500, with tickets selling at Rp 375,000, Rp 275,000 and Rp 150,000 (US$172.75, $126.70 and $69). The proceeds will go to the Indonesian Red Cross Organization. (anr)