TV Times

Hats off to the Master at the anniversary of ‘Agni’

Maestro Premasiri Khemadasa was at Borella Punchi Theatre recently to hold a workshop and a musical evening at the Punchi Theatre, Borella to mark the first anniversary of his latest opera 'Agni'.
The veteran musician delighted the audiences in Colombo and around the country with this masterpiece which already had more than 20 performances and many more shows are to be staged in Colombo and other parts.

Over the past 12 months, Maestro entered the performance halls in Colombo, Panadura, Anuradhapura, Bandarawela, Negombo, Chilaw etc., hearing a massive round of applause and left the audience stunned and standing in ovation.

Already an establish art of work, Agni has immortalized the feminine personification of fire and improvement of the human society with the immergence of new ideas and creative minds. Khemadasa, as usual, has been bold and brave enough to tackle a massive material faced big theatrical musical hurdles. This creation rich with singing and his own marvelous choreography seems an unexpected consignment to the musically poor Sri Lankan market.

During the workshop, Maestro clearly explained how he structured his creation to express his strong musical ideas by using voices and orchestra. His explanations at the Punchi Theatre were powerful enough to impress the audience. His model sopranos and other singers such as Indika Upamali, Subuddi Lakmali, Krishan Wickramasinghe, Niluka Thishari, Sumudu Pathiraja, Vageesha Sandamali etc, performed well at Punchi Theatre providing a rare opportunity to understand the development of musical ideas.

The stage appearances included Fire Goddess (Indika Upamali), Mihipaba which means the Light of the Earth (Subuddi Lakmali) and many others.

Addressing the gathering, Eric Illayapparachchi, the librettist of the opera explained how an opera throughout its history started from Renaissance Italy, intertwined with the problems of language and the capacities of music. According to him, the success of an opera depended on the ability and creativity of the musician to overcome the limitations of language through music. He pointed out that the popular simple songs are not serious musical creations and they lack musical ideas. They are just lyrics and poor poetry. There is a big difference between poetry and music. During this rare cultural event, the listeners were able to appreciate the pieces overflowing in musical ideas.

Items presented during that evening showed how a legend was developed into a contemporary Sinhalese opera by using innovative means of music and choreography. The voices finely cultivated and structured with a very grand musical procedure is no doubt a great achievement of Sri Lankan arts and culture.

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