Cup of Java
Gamelan Music & Dance from
Original Performance Date:
November 29, 2014 / 7:00PM
Photos by Jorge Vismara
Central Java holds a place of great cultural significance in Indonesia (the 4th most populous country in the world). Cultivated for hundreds of years in the palace of the Sultans of Yogyakarta, the internal and external control of musicians and dancers introduce us to the world of court aesthetics. Javanese gamelan has been described by Andres Segovia as “the music of the spheres.”
For this inaugural concert, ten classical dancers from Central Java and twenty-five CalArts musicians present a program of complex polyrhythms played on stunning bronze instruments. Javanese dancers of grace and exquisite beauty fill the stage as every gesture and cadence is masterfully executed with precise intention and concentration.
This program will include a broad range of Javanese works from refined mask dancing, to a duel of elaborately adorned woman warriors, to a male quartet of dynamic strength and dignity — all to the dramatic soundscapes of the gamelan. The culmination of this diverse program is Karna’s Choice — a story about the sorrows of war, the love of a mother, and the loyalty of brothers — as retold from the beloved Indian epic, the Mahabharata.
Synopsis: It is the eve of the epic 18-day battle of Kurukshetra. Karno is finishing his morning prayers by the Ganges. He is poised to join the Kaurava clan and battle the Pandava armies. Kunti approaches Karno and reveals her secret. She is his mother. She entreats Karno to refrain from fighting against his own brothers. Caught in the inevitable sorrow of war and love, Karno makes a choice.
Dance Direction: Bambang Pudjasworo, Heni Winahyuningsih (ISI Yogyakarta)
Music Direction: Anon Suneka (ISI Yogyakarta), Djoko Waluyo and Nyoman Wenten (CalArts)
Pre-performance Conversation: Dr. I Wayan Dibia
Cup of Java is co-commissioned by California Institute of the Arts and the East West Center, University of Hawaii and supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Los Angeles. Made possible by a grant from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta.