THE WORLD HAS REOPENED and our imaginations are piqued. Thailand is leading the way on an inspiring, uplifting cultural renaissance. That’s right, Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music is back in full form this year for its 24th iteration, from September 7 through October 18, 2022, at the Thailand Cultural Centre.
There are 11 must-see shows on the docket, ranging from the traditional to the avant garde. In thrilling news for music lovers, the biggest selling classical artist of the century, mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, OBE, is back by popular demand, returning from her spectacular concluding show of the 23rd Festival to open the 24th – making 2022 the first time in the history of Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music that an act has come in back-to-back years. Also for our genre-crossing listening pleasure, the other best-selling musicians making their way to Bangkok are iconic pianist Maksim Mrvica and the world’s most sophisticated boy band, Ten Tenors.
On the dance front, Tango Viva offers sublime seduction, revolutionary contemporary troupe Todes will wow you with their acrobatic moves, and the fleet-footed Celtic Legends will tap-dance their way into your heart. The Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus brings a knockout ballet trifecta, with Nutcracker, Scheherazade / Carmen Suite and Sleeping Beauty. And the Festival’s beautiful diversity is epitomized by two very different imaginings of Swan Lake, one by Ballet Preljocaj from France, and the other by the Stanislavsky Theatre.
Another exciting first: for the first time in the history of Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music, creatively minded young people are invited to meet these titans of the arts, by participating in the inaugural Student Outreach Program. This exciting new program aiming to elevate cultural education in Thailand will offer private performances and masterclasses from some of the brightest stars on the Festival docket. The hope is that engaging with and learning to appreciate music, dance, drama and other arts from different cultures, communities and traditions will shape our future generations into true global citizens.
Superstar mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE, a favorite of the British royal family, loved performing in Bangkok so much for the 23rd Festival that she is returning to kick off the 24th, again accompanied by the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra conducted by Grammy-nominated Anthony Inglis. Jenkins officially became the world’s most successful classical singer in 2020, the year she was anointed ‘The Biggest Selling Classical Artist of the Century’ by Classic FM, and gained her 14th No. 1 album. This is a woman who has smashed all the record books since her debut performance at the Sydney Opera House in 2003, which was closely followed by an appearance at Westminster Cathedral in honor of Pope John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee that led down a road of fairytale successes that most recently culminated in Jenkins singing at Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle. This perennial concert sell-out is also a talisman for her Welsh rugby team, singing the national anthem before their important matches.
Founded nearly a century ago, performances by the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre Ballet are known for elaborating on the main characters’ personalities, attention to psychological details, and treating the performance as an holistic piece of art weighing dance, drama and music equally. Choreographer Vladimir Burmeister’s light, lyrical and realistic interpretation of Swan Lake has been a trademark of the Stanislavsky since it was first performed in 1953. Famous for employing Tchaikovsky’s entire score – including the prologue, epilogue, the storm, the farewell dance of the swans, and more – this is the most complete, realistic, and plausible version of Swan Lake you are ever likely to see.
A global icon of substance and style, Croatian-born Maksim Mrvica is one of the best-selling classical-crossover pianists in history, with an MTV Award, a double-platinum album and other accolades under his belt. Breaking down the boundaries between music genres, from classical and movie music, to pop and electronic, Mrvica has performed everywhere from the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra to the Sydney Opera House. His album “Piano Player” has sold more than 4 million copies, and his 20-city tour of Japan was considered the biggest tour ever there by an international artist. Also adored for his fashion, he has collaborated with Dolce&Gabbana, Armani and Christian Dior, and was named Best Dressed Man by Vogue Homme.
Having performed in more than 50 countries and for dignitaries such as Barack Obama, Tango Viva is a thrilling dance troupe from Buenos Aires that has earned cultural recognition from the Ministry of Culture of Argentina. The group’s artistic directors are often invited by the Argentinean government to give masterclasses to professional dancers at the World Tango Championship in 2017. This performance’s soundtrack is predominantly classic tango, but also includes other genres such as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Queen’s Love of My Life, with all arrangements by Tango Viva’s music director, one of Argentina’s most respected musicians, who is behind the soundtracks of various well-known films including Evita starring Madonna.
From their roots as a breakdance team and back-up act to pop stars, Todes incorporates ballet and classical opera to create an entirely new, rule-bending form of contemporary dance. This acrobatic style is the brain-child of revolutionary artist Alla Dukhova, the group’s founder, artistic director and chief choreographer, and an inexhaustible source of inspiration across the dance world. The show that Todes brings to Bangkok, “Attention,” will change your ideas about the possibilities of modern choreography. An exciting journey through the expanse of the human soul, it explores the complex relationship between woman and man, fiery passion and boundless happiness. You won’t want to miss this irresistible tribute to the power of love and the incredible beauty of life.
Hailing from Down Under, Ten Tenors burst back on the scene with one of their biggest shows ever, blending rock and classical to spellbinding effect as they have over 15 albums, including their most recent, “Double Platinum,” and 4,000 live performances. These phenomenal tenors accompanied by their multi-talented band make for one of the greatest musical touring acts in the world, and are truly nice guys, having raised more than $11 million for charities around the world. They have sold some three million concert tickets, racked up four gold and two platinum CDs, and released a couple of popular DVDs to boot. All that hoopla led to an appearance on Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure. Ten Tenors are true crowd-pleasers, inspiring favorable comparisons to Queen and Meatloaf with their original and compelling take on rock endowed with classical music embellishments – or call it classical that really rocks.
If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, your energy will certainly be lifted by Celtic Legends. Born in the wild and beautiful hills of Connemara in Ireland back in 2002, Celtic Legends has since tap-danced around the world showing off the moving power and exuberant cheer of traditional Irish culture, respecting their ancient history while generating an electric atmosphere that sweeps audiences away to the Emerald Isle. The dancers have won many world championships and toured with shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance; the musicians – featuring one of the best Uilleann pipe-players in the world – demonstrate a love for their art unmatched. Irish music and dance culture comes to life spectacularly in brilliant flashes of speed and a joyous soundtrack by this award-winning group who will have you jumping out of your seat, too.
If you thought you knew Swan Lake, get ready for a surprise from Ballet Preljocaj. Choreographed by the deeply creative Angelin Preljocaj, a French Officier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, this is a powerful, thought-provoking ballet for our current era, introducing environmental conservation, corporate greed and issues of inheritance and family legacy as motivations. Combining Tchaikovsky’s musical masterpiece with more contemporary arrangements, Preljocaj, who has received the Samuel H. Scripps/ American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, takes possession of the myth of the swan-dancer, paying tribute to Marius Petipa while at the same time sailing in wholly original directions. The video design by award-winning graphic artist Boris Labbe adds depth and dimension to the exquisite technique of the 26 dancers on stage.
It’s hard to think of a more appropriate collective of artists to put on the final three shows of Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music this year than one whose repertoire is as vast and reputation as strong as the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. The main musical and theatrical stage of the country and a symbol of Belarusian culture, the ballet company is made up of 80 dancers, many of them award-winning. No festive season is complete without a viewing of the Nutcracker, the charming story of a little girl’s Christmas reverie. Scheherazade is directed by world-renowned dancer Andris Liepa, while the score of Carmen Suite is considered one of the most perfect in music history; together these one-act ballets make for a powerful evening of entertainment. And finally adults and children alike will find it impossible to resist the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, in which love triumphs over wickedness. It’s the perfect capstone to a Festival celebrating joyfulness, optimism and rebirth.
This exciting diverse array of talent and completely entrancing interpretations of arts will appeal to all tastes and ages. Bangkok’s 24th International Festival of Dance & Music is a celebration of the enduring spirit of humankind, an especially poignant sentiment in 2022. To be a part of this pioneering, innovative, inspiring event, reserve your seats at www.thaiticketmajor.com.
Schedule of Events
Wednesday, September 7: Katherine Jenkins
Saturday, September 10: Swan Lake by Stanislavsky Theatre
Sunday, September 11: Swan Lake by Stanislavsky Theatre
Wednesday, September 14: Maksim Mrvica
Saturday, September 17: Everything is Tango by Tango Viva
Saturday, September 24: Attention by Todes
Thursday, September 29: Ten Tenors
Saturday, October 1: Celtic Legends
Saturday, October 8: Swan Lake by Ballet Preljocaj
Sunday, October 9: Swan Lake by Ballet Preljocaj
Saturday, October 15: Nutcracker by Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus
Sunday, October 16: Nutcracker by Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus
Monday, October 17: Scheherazade / Carmen Suite by Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus
Tuesday, October 18: Sleeping Beauty by Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus
Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music began in 1999 to commemorate the 6th cycle birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. From its inception in 1999 to 2004, H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra was the Honorary Chairperson and then from 2004 until Her demise was its Royal Patron. From May 2008 H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn took over as the Royal Patron.
Bangkok’s 24th International Festival of Dance & Music 2022 is sponsored by AXA Insurance, Bangkok Bank, B. Grimm, BMW Thailand, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, Indorama Ventures, Major Cineplex Group, Ministry Of Culture, PTT Public Company Limited, Singha Corporation, Thai Airways, Thai Union Group, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, and Tourism Authority Of Thailand, with many more patrons and friends generously providing support.
Bangkok’s 24th International Festival of Dance & Music is sponsored by
And many more patrons and friends generously provide support.
Venue: 14 Thiam Ruam Mit Road, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310, Thailand.
Dates: Sept 7 – Oct 18, 2022.