Man about town 25-06-2010

Man about town 25-06-2010


British royal HRH Duke of Gloucester is returning to Siem Reap on June 27 after a long absence – he was last here in October 1969.

The primary purpose of his visit is to inspect Global Heritage Fund’s flagship project at Prasat Banteay Chhmar in Banteay Meanchey province.

Following the tour of the temple site, the Duke will return to Siem Reap for an evening reception hosted by the British embassy and the British ambassador, Andrew Mace, at Hotel de la Paix.

Apparently the Duke is a keen photographer, and James Hooper, Global Heritage Fund’s UK manager, told 7Days, “It is 40 years since HRH was in Cambodia and his photos of Angkor from that time are rather amazing.”

According to a press release, the Duke’s “own professional qualifications in architecture and his long-lasting relationship with heritage and conservation … are leading factors in his deep and personal interest in the work of organisations such as GBF.”

A meeting to pitch the idea of holding a performance of choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s stunning opera, Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute in one of the Angkor temples has been postponed until later this year.

The pitch was originally slated for presentation to delegates during the 19th Technical Session of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor earlier this month, but has been rescheduled to the next ICC gathering in Siem Reap in December.

Amrita Performing Arts executive director Fred Frumberg, who is collaborating on the project with journalist Robert Turnbull, told 7Days the meeting was postponed because there “would be a bigger presence of ambassadors in December” that “would be important for a project like this”.

The plan is to hold the opera in 2012. The 90-minute production, a Cambodia-centric retelling of Mozart’s Magic Flute, was originally commissioned in 2006 by American theatre director Peter Sellars for a festival in Vienna.

The opera ran at the Joyce Theatre in New York in October 2007 and was reviewed by the New York Times, which said, “Tender and faintly campy in the sweetest sense – as when glimmers of irritation flicker across the performers’ faces – Pamina Devi is an exotic journey enriched by subtle political undertones.”