A house in Bali: Ubud premiere

In Ubud this week, we were lucky to catch part of the final rehearsals for Evan Ziporyn’s new opera: A House in Bali. Based on Colin McPhee’s famous memoir, it traces the roots of the west’s century-long infatuation with Bali, through the true story of three westerners – composer Colin McPhee, anthropologist Margaret Mead, and artist Walter Spies – during their 1930s sojourn in Bali.

Unaware of the impending premiere at the Water Palace Theatre in Ubud this Friday and Saturday (June 26-27), the voices of Marc Molomot and Timor Bekbosunov drifted across the lotus ponds to to our table at the Lotus Cafe. The music was bewitching.

The next day, we watched and listened spellbound to the interplay between singers and the young Massachusetts-born dancer, Nyoman Triyana Usadhi.  This multi-media spectacle of classical opera, gamelan music and dance promises to do more than justice to Colin McPhee’s writing.

To our regret, the performances were to take place after our departure.  Already a sellout in Ubud (standing room available?), the next performances are scheduled for Berkeley, California in late-September. From Treeton Estate, Western Australia, all we can hope is for the early release of a recording.

John Simmonds