About 300 electric bulbs of 1,000 to 2,000 watts, 500 gas lamps, four generators, and a stage that required 20 people to transport by truck from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
That’s what it took for Angkor Wat to be lit from its base to the central sanctuary, so it can serve as a backdrop for performances tonight and Friday night.
Approximately 60 Cambodian dancers and 27 musicians will participate in the events, which were organized by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and the French Cultural Center. “This will be the first time since New Year 2000 that the temple will be lit,” said Marie-Christine de Navacelle, assistant director of the French Cultural Center in Phnom Penh.
Tonight they will stage Lakhaon Kaol, a form of Khmer performing art that dates back to the Angkor era and blends masked theater with traditional dance. On Friday, there will be a production of Lakhaon Sbeik Thom, or large shadow puppet theater. They will perform Thousand Arrows and The Battle between the White Monkey and the Black Monkey.
On both nights, French artist Jerome Pernoo will play on a cello crafted in the late 1600s by Carlo Giuseppe Testore.
This will be the third consecutive year that December performances have taken place at Angkor, beginning with the millennium arts festival in December 1999, said Hang Soth, technical director general for the Ministry of Culture.
The performances begin at 7 pm. Tickets cost $10, $5 for under age 25, and are available at the French cultural centers in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.