The “Mozart at Angkor” project entered its second phase this week with a major challenge: integrating traditional Khmer music into the score of Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute.”
“I was convinced it would work but we were not sure until we heard it,” said Aaron Carpene, the Australian music director who will conduct the opera, which will be staged in the Angkor Archaeological Park in early 2018.
Since Sunday, 12 Cambodian musicians have been rehearsing the 1791 opera score along with about 15 classical musicians from the National University of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.
One of the conservatory’s goals is to put a new spin on classical compositions, said Bernard Lanskey, its director.
“This is, I think, a very exciting project from that perspective,” he said.
Executive producer Robert Turnbull estimated the cost of the project to be more than $1 million.