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
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,
FREE TICKETS - Rabindranath
Tagore Operatic Dance Drama, London, Sunday 7pm, 23rd
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
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
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:
| 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
“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
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
© Naomi Calligaro