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Previews: European Opera and Bornean Intertwine in INE AYA'

INE AYA' takes its name from the guardian of the tree of life.

Previews: European Opera and Bornean Intertwine in INE AYA' INE AYA' - SUARA SAMAR RIMBA ("the Forest's Faint Sound") is a new opera by Balaan Tumaan Ensemble & World Opera Lab. The opera's story is centered around the deforestation of Borneo.

INE AYA' takes its name from the guardian of the tree of life. The narrative is build around the folktales of the Kayan people, an ethnic group living near the upper part of Baram river on Sarawak, Malaysia, especially from the epic of Takna' Lawe. It is, however, not a straight adaptation; interestingly, it combines the Bornean epic with elements from the famed Wagnerian opera Der Ring des Nibelungen. Altogether, the opera's message is one of man's folly that crosses the boundaries of culture; it hopes to inspire a change in the audience's behavior towards nature.

This opera features a mythological tree of life that grows in the middle of the world, the symbol of Borneo's nature. The Kayan people call it Kayo' Aya'. The tree is analogous to the Yggdrasil tree of the Northern European folklore. Ine Aya' is a Kayan goddess who protects the tree of life, until the arrival of a god from the East: Wotan.

Wotan desires to take the wisdom and strength of the tree for himself, leading to Ine Aya' punishing him by sending the tree's branches and twigs to imprison him. But Wotan's struggle is killing the tree slowly. Meanwhile, the Kayan youths are trying to fend off from attacks from the outside world. The opera will see the resolution of the conflict surrounding the tree, whether it will wither and die, or survive and heal.

The script is based on the rich tradition of Bornean folklore that portrays the relationship between man and nature. The tale has been passed down for generations and hundreds of years, being written down for the first time only in the 1980s and translated into Bahasa Indonesia and English. The Kayan researchers are racing against time to preserve Takna', a classic and nearly extinct story of the Kayan people. It was last performed 30 years ago.

In this rendition, the Takna' Lawe' music is played alongside the well-known music of Wagner. Both the music and the opera will make use of leitmotifs. For the INE AYA' opera, the music will be played by the Balaan Tumaan ensemble using traditional instruments like sape' and kaldii'.

This opera was first performed at the Holland Festival in 2021. This year, on August 19th, this opera will be performed in Indonesia for the first time in the depths of Kalimantan, specifically at the Datah Diaan village where the trial people of Kayan Mendalam reside, followed by several shows at Pontianak and Jakarta.

Ine Aya' is made throught a collaboration between Miranda Lakerveld, director from World Opera Lab, and the composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah from the Balaan Tumaan ensemble. Yadi is an emerging Indonesian musician with a deep understanding of the Kayan music heritage. He is in the process of searching for new ways of using the Kayan music in creative works that can appeal to a wide audience.

Miranda Lakerveld is a theater director who has conducted researches on traditional theatrical music from all around the globe, launching new operas globally such as TURAN DOKHT in Iran and ORFEO in Gujarat India.

To bring the show to life, Yadi and Miranda will work with a team of international performers hailing from Borneo, the Netherlands, Thailand, Iran, and the United States. The cast includes the Dutch-Indonesian soprano Bernadeta Astari; Filipino-American actor Rolfe Dauz; Bornean soprano Frisna Virginia as the titular Ine Aya'; dancer Art Srisayam; with music and vocal by Kayan activists , Dominikus Uyub and Dayung Marta Haran. The wardrobe is designed by Uke Toegimin.

The Jakarta production of INE AYA' will run once on August 27th starting on 8 PM at Teater Besar, Taman Ismail Marzuki. The tickets are available for free at Loket.

TodayTix


From This Author - Rakaputra Paputungan

Rakaputra Paputungan is a Jakarta-based musical theatre aficionado who seeks to spread the love of the art form in Indonesia. Often volunteering for musical or theatrical productions, he's alwa... (read more about this author)


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INE AYA' - SUARA SAMAR RIMBA ('the Forest's Faint Sound') is a new opera by Balaan Tumaan Ensemble & World Opera Lab. The opera's story is centered around the deforestation of Borneo.