Blog A South Asian Bess

A South Asian Bess

Posted by Author on in Blog 49
A South Asian Bess

I can hear what you are saying, "South Asians and Opera," or, "We know Bollywood, but Opera, real singing?" All I can say is Yes, South Asians and Opera, it exists. Soprano Indira Mahajan is making her debut with the Washington National Opera, in its production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, playing the lead female, Bess. This is the final week of the show which is playing at the Kennedy Center, and has been receiving reviews, which seem to be mostly positive [link via DCist] thus far. For those of you that don't know, here is a bit more about Porgy and Bess...

"Welcome to Catfish Row. In this poignant tale of love found and lost, the disabled beggar Porgy wins the beautiful but troubled Bess from her macho thug boyfriend Crown only to lose her to "happy dust" and the bright lights of New York."

This isn't even close to Mahajan's first big-time performance, and I am a little surprised we hadn't heard too much of her until now, although I guess opera circles are a bit different than ones many of us belong to. Here is some more on Mahajan from her bio...

Acclaimed for her portrayal of Musetta, she appeared in the Opera Omaha production of La bohème conducted Hal France and returned to Dallas Opera in the Garnett Bruce production which was conducted by Claus Peter Flor. Recognizing her command of the role, the soprano was invited to perform "Quando me'n vo" in the prestigious Richard Tucker Gala at Lincoln Center. Having performed Mimi for the first time in the Dayton Opera production, Miss Mahajan was invited to repeat the role at Royal Albert Hall marking her opera debut in the United Kingdom. The production was directed by three-time Olivier award-winning director Francesca Zambello and conducted by David Parry. Following her debut, Miss Mahajan was recognized for her "substantial voice" in The London Sunday Times. She will reprise the role at Royal Albert Hall in spring 2006.
To hear an mp3 of what the South Asian Soprano sounds like, click here. Sadly, for those of you wanting to see one of the remaining shows of Porgy and Bess, it seems three nights have already sold out (11/15, 11/18, 11/19), so if you are interested, grab your tickets quickly.