‘Shakuntala – The Opera’ staged by Austrian Embassy


Kolkata, Oct 5 (PTI) The romantic story of the Indian epic Mahabharat ‘Shakuntala and Dushyanta’ was staged in song and dance here at the initiative of the Austrian Embassy.
Named ‘Shakuntala – The Opera’, was enacted by a team comprising the Austrian chamber orchestra, the award-winning Shillong chamber choir and famous Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan on Thursday.
While the introductory song ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’, a Baisnavi bhajan popularised by Mahatma Gandhi was in Hindi, other songs were in German and the narration was in English.
Austrian Ambassador Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshoifer said the production was adapted from the incomplete opera by legendary Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1820 and later put together by composer and president of Viena Boy’s Choir Prof Gerald Wirth.Walchshoifer said the production was being staged in New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in October and remained an example on Indo-Austrian cultural ties.
The Kolkata show was the second show in India after it was staged in New Delhi on October 2, the 150 birth anniversary of Gandhiji, the envoy said.”I am sure the entire presentation in dance form will be liked very much by the Indian audience. Music is understood by everybody and musical collaborations build bridges,” the diplomat said.Director, Austrian Cultural Forum, Embassy of Austria, Michael Heinz said that the relationship between India and Austria remained strong and “we had many great Indian artistes who travelled through Viena” in the 20th century.
He said Indian culture remained very popular among the German intellectual community for centuries.
About choosing ‘Shakuntala’, he said it was one of the most valuable pieces of work that people know both in Europe and India.
The 70-minute show narrated the love and separation between ‘Shakuntala’ and ‘King Dushyanta’ and how they reunited in the end.

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