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Thai government sparks opera rewrite November 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts, Culture.

Concerned that portraying the death of demon-king Thotsakan on stage was taboo, Thailand’s government threatened to ban a new work by the Bangkok Opera.

The BBC reported Saturday that Somtow Sucharitkul, composer and artistic director of the Bangkok Opera, said officials from the Ministry of Culture spoke to him about changing the libretto of his opera, Ayodhya, just days before the opening.

The officials asked Sucharitkul to have the death of Thotsakan take place offstage in keeping with the tradition surrounding the epic poem Ramayana, which is the basis of the new opera. Thai tradition says showing the death will bring bad luck.

The BBC said Sucharitkul, not wanting to shoulder the blame for any misfortunes, “toned down” the scene with the death taking place off-stage.

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