BANGKOK — None shall sleep this September, when foreign opera, ballet, and orchestral troupes march into the kingdom for Bangkok’s 21st International Festival of Dance and Music.
Set to run from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23, the festival’s 13 performances feature acts from Russia, China, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, and even legendary Spanish tenor Jose Carreras.
Headlining the festival is “Turandot,” a Puccini opera about a coldhearted (read: tsundere) Chinese princess and a suitor who needs to solve riddles to win her hand. If she guesses his name before he succeeds, he will be executed. The Ekaterinburg Opera Theater will perform this rendition on Wednesday Sept. 11 at 7:30. When else are you going to see an Italian opera set in ancient China, played by Russians, staged in Thailand?
The same troupe is performing the three act “Rusalka” – a Slavic twist on “The Little Mermaid” – on Friday Sept. 13 at the same time.
Li Yugang, one of China’s biggest names in Beijing opera – known as ngiew in Thailand – will take to the stage as “Lady Zhaoyun” on Oct. 5 and 6.
The Kremlin Ballet will perform a whopping three ballets: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (Oct. 15), “A Thousand and One Nights” (Oct. 17), and of course, “Swan Lake” (Oct 19).
See all-male New York drag ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on Sept. 16 and 17, or surrealism acrobatics by Switzerland’s Compagnia Finzi Pasca in “La Verita” on Sept. 21 and 22. The Netherlands’ Introdans will perform contemporary ballet on Oct. 11 as well.
The UK’s Imperial Ice Stars will skate “Swan Lake” on Sept. 26 and 27, and “Cinderella” on Sept. 28 and 29. The Budapest Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andras Keller, will play Liszt and Tchaikovsky for classical music enthusiasts on Oct. 13.
Jose Carreras will close out the festival with a performance, part of his Farewell tour, on Oct. 23.
Book tickets, which can cost anywhere from 1,200 to 12,000 baht depending on seating and the performance, at Thai Ticket Major. Performances will take place at the Thailand Cultural Centre, reachable from exit No. 1 of the MRT station of the same name. There is a shuttle bus from the station to the venue on performance nights.