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Author Topic: Mae Naak, an English-language opera about a Thai ghost  (Read 1498 times)

Sir Tibbins

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Mae Naak, an English-language opera about a Thai ghost
« on: September 04, 2011, 05:01:55 AM »
S.P. Somtow is most known to readers in the UK as the author of such gothic dark fantasies as the seminal Vampire Junction (Cassell) and of the exotic memoir Jasmine Nights (Penguin).  But under his real and more exotic Thai name, Somtow Sucharitkul, he is also becoming more known as a composer of operas.  Mae Naak, an English-language opera about a Thai ghost, will be his first to reach Britain, premiering at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 14th, 15th and 17th September 2011.

Set in a Thai village during the nineteenth century, Mae Naak is the story a simple soldier who comes home from a protracted war to his loving wife and child … only they have been dead for ten years, and he’s the only one in the village who doesn’t realize it.  Naak is an passionate and attentive soulmate with a few eccentrities: she sleeps all day and decapitates the occasional travelling salesman … to all of which Maak, her devoted husband, is oblivious … until one day she drops a lemon while making pounding chili paste, reaches out to grab it, and Maak happens to notice that her hand can stretch through the floor of the veranda all the way to the ground outside the house.  An exorcist is summoned and pandemonium breaks loose at the local temple.

Somtow (Thais are customarily referred to by their first name) is an Eton and Cambridge-educated, bicultural artist whose first career was as an avant-garde composer.  Burning out in the early 1980s, he became an award-winning novelist specializing in dark fantasy.  His novel Vampire Junction was named one of the forty greatest books in the history of horror by the Horror Writers Association.  He received the World Fantasy Award for The Bird Catcher, a grim tale of serial killing and racial prejudice in post-WW II Siam, and has been nominated for the  Bram Stoker Award five times.  At the turn of the century Somtow returned to Thailand and to music, reinventing himself as a neo-romantic.

The opera, sung in English and with an international cast, can be seen at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on 14, 15, and 17 September. http://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/1593

SFcrowsnest.net: The genre media magazine

Mae Naak, an English-language opera about a Thai ghost
« on: September 04, 2011, 05:01:55 AM »