More Austrian young musicians to teach, perform with Indian counterparts: Envoy

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Kolkata, Oct 4 (IANS) Terming music as a perfect tool for “building bridges between different nations and cultures and people” Austrian Ambassador to India, Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer on Thursday said there were plans to bring more troupes of young musicians from Austria to this country and let them teach and perform with Indian musicians.

“Music is a perfect tool for building bridges between different nations and cultures and people. So we are working to bring people together through music,” Walchshofer said at the second staging of famous Austrian composer Franz Schubert’s opera, ‘Shakuntala’ here in association with the Sangit Kala Mandir here.

Based on Kalidasa’s ancient Sanskrit text ‘Abhijnanashakuntalam’, Schubert composed the unfinished opera in 1820.

The opera was recently completed in a collaborative effort by the Austrian embassy, the renowned Vienna Boys’ Choir, Professor Gerald Wirth, an Austrian chamber orchestra and the award-winning Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) from India.

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It had its first performance in Delhi on October 2, on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

The opera aims to celebrate the cultural ties between Austria and India and also features eminent kathak dancer Shovana Narayan along with 52 musicians and singers from both the countries.

Talking about the unique venture, Professor Wirth, who completed the composition, said, “Shakuntala is one of the most valued Indian text and also immensely popular. On the other hand, Franz Schubert is well known among the classical music lovers. So we thought of bringing the creation back to where it originated from.”

“The great thing about music is every artist enriches the performance in a unique way, no matter wherever they come from. We do to care whether someone is Austrian, French or Indian. We do the music the best we can and work as hard as we can on the notes, composition,” he added.

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