|David Murphy with Anoushka & Sukanaya Shankar (Ravi Shankar's daughter & wife) |
photo Sim Canetty Clarke
David Murphy was Ravi Shankar's collaborator on his Symphony which was premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010. And it is Murphy who has be responsible for bringing the opera Sukanaya to fruition, with the help of Shankar's daughter Anoushka. Though Shankar had had the idea for the opera some time ago, inspired by the story of his wife's name. He was only able to start working on it towards the end of his life, and had completed it in outline. The libretto by Amit Chaudhuri is based on the Mahābhārata, but also draws on texts by Tagore, Eliot and Shakespeare, and the opera explores the common ground between music, dance and theatre in the West and in India, bringing Indian classical music into opera.
Posthumous works are always something of a problem, how much of the creator is in the finished work and how much of the facilitators (in this case David Murphy and Anoushka Shankar), and does it matter? With his symphony and sitar concertos, Ravi Shankar successfully negotiated the boundaries between Eastern and Western musics to create something of a dialogue. It will be interesting to see how successful he was in bringing this to bear on the complex form of opera.
Full information and tickets from the LPO website.