** This list is managed by Dr Evangelos Himonides (UCL), on behalf of the Society for Education and Music Psychology Research (sempre), and aims to serve as a discussion forum for researchers working at the shared boundaries of science and music. This list was previously managed by the Institute of Musical Research. ** MESSAGE FOLLOWS:
Friends,


You are warmly invited to Rabindranath Tagore's glorious Operatic Dance 
Drama, "Chitrangada", in West Kensington, London, this Sunday evening
at 7:00pm, 23rd April 2017.   It will be sung in the original Bengali language, 
with narration and visuals in English.

The curator of the this operatic dance drama, the renowned Tagore expert, 
Dr. Ananda Gupta, who, like myself, reveres Rabindranath Tagore and feels
inspired to take his wonderful work out into the mainstream.  Dr. Gupta has 
kindly designated me a Guest of Honour at this event, and has pressed me to 
invite my friends and associates.  

Dr. Gupta's day job is as an Eye Specialist in a London clinic, and he undertakes 
his Tagore work as a labour of love in his spare time.  Most unfortunately, he has 
only just managed to put the FREE tickets for "Chitrangada" up on the Eventbrite ticketing website in the past few hours.  With the performance being only four days away, I would be most grateful if each of you would be so good as to let any relevant contacts of yours know about this delightful [FREE!] event, as it really will 
be a wonderful evening, and we wish to have a full house.

I do apologise for the short notice of this event, but it was due to circumstances 
outside my control.  I am hoping to sit down with Dr. Gupta in the near future,
to discuss how, in future, more notice can be given of these Tagore events.

Friends of mine who attended another delightful operatic dance drama by Tagore, "Nobeen", which was curated by Dr. Gupta in London last month, found 
it an inspiring and delightful evening.  None of these friends of mine had previously been to a Tagore opera, so it was quite a revelation to them! 

Please find below, together with my write-up on this operatic dance drama, the Eventbrite link to book FREE tickets.  I have found it fascinating researching the 
background to Tagore's "Chitrangada", and am greatly looking forward to Dr. Gupta's performance of it this Sunday, as I have found the performances of other Tagore operatic dance dramas that he has curated, absolutely thrilling.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Sunday evening, as well as 
your families/friends/colleagues/associates.

For those of you who will be able to attend on Sunday, it is ESSENTIAL that you
book your FREE tickets directly via the online electronic ticket booking website, Eventbrite:

There is NO booking fee.

For those of you who plan to attend, if have the time, I would be grateful if you would 
also let me know of your planned attendance via email (as well as you booking your FREE tickets directly via the Eventbrite website

For those of you who are living overseas, I am including you in this mailing, in
case, by any chance, you happen to be in the UK this week and/or you feel that contacts of yours in the UK might be interested in attending.

Wishing everyone all possible blessings,
Naomi  

FREE TICKETS - Rabindranath Tagore Operatic Dance Drama, London, Sunday 7pm, 23rd April 2017
 
A warm invitation is issued to attend Rabindranath Tagore’s glorious operatic dance drama “Chitrangada – The Warrior Princess”, on Sunday 23rd April 2017, 7:00pm – approx. 9:00pm, at the Bhavan Centre, 4a Castletown Rd, London W14 9HE. 
[Sung in the original Bengali language, with narration and visuals in English.]
This will be the first time that this immortal operatic dance drama, (which is based on an episode in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, and adapted by Tagore to emphasise female empowerment and the Spring season), will be performed in the UK in this new style. 
 
It will be performed by Dakshinaya Dakshini, curated by the renowned Tagore expert, Dr. Ananda Gupta, in association with the High Commission of India
 
With his plays and operatic dance dramas, Tagore’s intentions went far beyond mere entertainment; he wished to uplift audiences, emphasise the unification of humankind and Nature, and challenge audiences thinking about where right-action lies in challenging situations in life, and also, very importantly for him, empower women.  Like Tagore’s other operatic dance dramas, “Chitrangada” is a delight to both the eyes and the ears, with exquisite singing and dancing, and dazzling silk Bengali costumes. 

FREE Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite:
 
For anyone unfamiliar with Tagore’s operatic dance dramas, a 55 minute film version of his “Chitrangada” can be viewed on Youtube, which will give an indication of what to expect at the live performance of “Chitrangada” in London on the evening of Sunday 23rd April 2017:
Chitrangada | Tagore Dance Drama | Suchitra Mitra | Hemanta Mukhopadhyay | Kanika Bandopadhyay
 
Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) was a visionary Bengali polymath who was involved in, and excellent in, most fields of human endeavour, and was the first ever non-white, non-European to win a Nobel Prize in any category (Literature, 1913).  W.B. Yeats and William Rothenstein played key roles in catapulting Tagore to (fully deserved) international fame and the Nobel Prize.
 
In the field of music, as well as composing various Operas / Dance Dramas, Rabindranath Tagore composed 2,500 songs, and created a musical genre which was named after him, “Rabindra Sangeet” (correctly pronounced Rabindra Shongeet, but usually pronounced by non-Bengalis as it is spelt).  “Rabindra Sangeet” translates approximately as “Rabindranath Songs”, and is an inspired and subtle fusion of words and music.  Tagore is the only composer ever to have composed more than one National Anthem: the National Anthem of India and the National Anthem of Bangladesh.

The dances in “Chritrangada” are in the dance form known as Rabindra Nritya Natya, which was created by Rabindranath Tagore.
 
Tagore composed “Chitrangada” in early 1936, when he was 74 years old.  He reworked his earlier play, “Chitra”, into this operatic dance drama, for the purpose of undertaking a fundraising tour in India, as his educational campus, Shantineketan, West Bengal, India, had at that time a deficit of 60,000 Rupees.  For Tagore, who was a social reformer and a feminist before the term feminist had been coined, this tour was simultaneously an opportunity to raise necessary funds for his beloved educational campus, Shantineketan, and an opportunity to promote the empowerment of women. 
 
India was at the time under British Rule, and India’s British rulers wanted Indians in India to be educated in institutions which would instil rigidity of thinking, blind obedience to authority, and just enough knowledge to serve the interests of Britain’s Imperial machine, without challenging it.  A crucial aspect of Colonisation is colonisation of the minds of those being colonised. 
 
At Tagore’s educational campus in West Bengal, Shantineketan, students had their lessons sitting in circles on the earth underneath trees, rote learning (which Tagore regarded as soul-destroying) was banned, the freedom of the mind and creativity were emphasised, the natural world was revered, knowledge, including science and mathematics, was related to the natural world, emphasis was placed on the importance of the education, dignity and empowerment of girls, and song and dance played an important role in campus life, with special songs composed by Tagore to celebrate festivals, special events, the change of season etc.  Additionally, Tagore’s campus was a meeting place for eminent scholars from around the world, to share knowledge and cultures, and cross fertilise, in a spirit of mutual respect.   

While certain individual eminent Britains, including William Rothenstein, were deeply impressed with Tagore’s educational work, it was regarded with suspicion by the British Imperial machine, which undermined it and cut off sources of funds, which is why the hugely creative and ever resourceful Tagore responded by composing his glorious operatic dance drama “Chitrangada” in 1936, to engage in a fundraising tour in India, to fund his campus’ deficit.
 
“Chitrangada”, had its Premiere in Calcutta’s New Empire Theatre on 11th March 1936, and there were repeat performances at that theatre on 12th and 13th March 1936.  Tagore then toured Northern India with “Chitrangada”, with performances taking place in Patna (16th and 17th March 1936), Allahabad (19th March 1936) and Lahore (22nd and 23rd March 1936).  Arriving in Delhi on 25th March 1936, Tagore laid the foundations of the prayer hall of the Modern School, and performed “Chitrangada” in Delhi on 26th and 27th March 1936.  
 
Mahatma Gandhi, who happened to be in Delhi at the time, was appalled to learn that the frail 74 year old Tagore, whose health was failing, should need to undertake an arduous fundraising tour to finance the deficit at his inspiring educational campus, Shantineketan.  Although Tagore and the Mahatma had their political differences, which at times became heated (but never disrespectful), the Mahatma was a man of great compassion, and, heart-warmingly, he immediately arranged for a supporter of his to present Tagore with a cheque for 60,000 Rupees (which was a very substantial sum of money back in 1936), to cover the entire deficit of the Shantineketan campus.
 
This glorious operatic dance drama, “Chitrangada”, is a beautiful example of how it is possible in life to turn situations of great adversity into something which is beautiful and life-enhancing.
© Naomi Calligaro