Jazz, Opera and Women’s Puppetry: Jakarta Playhouse, Jakarta

Jakarta is a place of culture and of that there is no doubt, and, there is always something going on to suit all tastes. One of the great places to see a potpourri of drama, dance and music performances is at the Jakarta Playhouse.

A. Junaidi compiled a report on this month’s entertainment should you be visiting Jakarta in the month of January:

The Jakarta Playhouse (GKJ) will commence its cultural program this month with Pasar Jazz, Beethoven’s opera Fidelio and a women’s puppetry show.

Taking place at the GKJ building on Jl. Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta on Jan. 18, Pasar Jazz will present four groups — whose members are mostly young musicians — and a jazz duet.

Pasar Jazz supports young musicians and hope that they could become renowned jazz musicians in Indonesia,” GKJ director Marusya F. Nainggolan said at a press conference last Thursday.

The four bands are Bobb Quartet, The New Conservative, Ensemble d’Etudiant and Beben Quartet while musician-singers Indra Aziz and Zarro Ananta comprise the duet.

The jazz event is planned to be an annual activity in Jakarta, a complement to the existing Java Jazz Festival, the Jakarta International Festival and Jazz Goes to Campus, which is held at University of Indonesia.

At the same venue on Jan. 26, the Susvara Opera Company and its choir, Gita Svara, will present Fidelio, the only opera Beethoven ever composed, in concert.

Produced and directed by Catharina W. Leimena, the opera will feature sopranos Christine Lubis and Anastasia P. Suryaningtyas, basses Raymond Lee and Imanuel Bimo; and tenors Indra Listyanto and Charles Nasution.

The Susvara Opera Company staged Mozart’s operas Le Nozze de Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan Tutte and Die Zauberfloete at the Goethe House last year.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 30, the Kunti Nalibroto women’s puppetry troupe will stage Pandowo Obong, a chapter from the Mahabharata epic, featuring a special appearance by the Ambassador of Thailand to Indonesia, Atchara Seriputra.

All characters in the famous Hindu epic, including male characters such as King Pandu and the princes, will be played by women players.

Puppetry director and playwright Slameto, who has lifelong experience in the legendary Bharata puppetry group, is one of the few — if not the only — man to contribute to the performance.

The group is founded by Ratih Dardo Subroto and her husband, Soebroto, who is its sole trustee. Soebroto was former mining and energy minister under president Soeharto.

A. Junaidi, Jakarta