Legacy of blockbusters and classics

Legacy of blockbusters and classics
Indian performance artist Nikhil Chopra in Give Me Your Blood And I Will Give You Freedom.

A 50-hour durational performance and a four-day journey through 20th-century music are some of the dramatic finishing touches to the Singapore International Festival of Arts' inaugural edition.

Festival director Ong Keng Sen, 50, yesterday announced the final six productions of the $6.5-million festival, which will run from Aug 12 to Sept 21.

Speaking at the festival's media launch at The Arts House, Mr Ong says: "We try to bring big works to Singapore as soon as they're made as possible.

"This is a special commitment, we feel that it's important that if we are a global city, how do we serve the Singapore audiences who want to see new works?"

One of the newly unveiled headliners is Indian performance artist Nikhil Chopra, who will be evoking India's fight for freedom against colonial rule in his sprawling piece titled Give Me Your Blood And I Will Give You Freedom.

He will map out stark landscapes of black ink on a white canvas, a metaphor for a dark and bloody battle.

Audience members are free to come and go throughout the 50 hours of this new work, a festival commission.

The live installation will take place at 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road from Aug 15 to 17.

Mr Ong says of the festival theme, Legacy And The Expanded Classic: "The expanded classic is a term referring to classics which are, in a sense, new classics.

"We're looking at the avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s, people like Robert Wilson and Michael Nyman. They were big new waves of art.

"Today, I'm proposing, as we are in this whole festival, that they are the future classic, the new classic. The idea of the classic today are the experiments of the 1960s and 1970s of the last century."

In this vein are a series of classical music concerts spread over four days that outline a musical journey from 19th- century composers, such as Claude Debussy, to present-day creators such as James MacMillan and Tom Ades.

Specially put together for the festival, it is presented by London's Southbank Centre and will be performed by the London Sinfonietta and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra at the School of the Arts Concert Hall from Sept 3 to 7.

Another twist on the classic is evident in 2012's The Chorus; Oedipus. In this production, South Korean director Seo Jae-Hyung reinvents the myth of King Oedipus by putting a musical spin on the classic Greek tragedy.

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