Few places on Earth compare to the great natural beauty and rich cultural heritage that is found in the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Located between India and China in the high Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan rises within just a few hundred miles from…
Few places on Earth compare to the great natural beauty and rich cultural heritage that is found in the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Located between India and China in the high Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan rises within just a few hundred miles from the steamy plains of Assam to some of the world’s highest peaks along its northern border with Tibet.
This diversity of ecosystems – representing... most of the climatic zones found on planet Earth but packaged within an area only about the size of Switzerland - also provides refuge to many thousands of species of birds, plants, insects and animals that make Bhutan one of the world’s most treasured environmental sanctuaries, too.
The history of Bhutan is closely associated with the spread of Buddhism throughout the Himalayas, and Bhutan is the last place on Earth where the Vajrayana form of Mahayana Buddhism is practiced as a way of life that influences all aspects of society. Because Bhutan has never been colonized or occupied by any foreign invaders since the coming of Buddhism more than a thousand years ago, its cultural heritage and traditions remain authentic and intact.
The authenticity of its robust cultural life also stems from the fact that Bhutan remains largely isolated from the rest of the modern world -- with the first road to the outside (India) constructed only in the early 1960s and with the number of permitted tourists admitted to the Kingdom still averaging below 20,000 annually.
This Vimeo channel and associated links follows the development and production of the very first Western opera that will incorporate important artistic elements reflecting Bhutanese culture. The opera is ‘Acis & Galatea’ by GF Handel, whose pastoral themes and celebration of metamorphosis resonate deeply with the most transformative spiritual experiences represented in classical Western as well as Eastern philosophical traditions.
This production of ‘Acis & Galatea’ is a cooperative project between the University of Texas at El Paso and the El Paso Opera, the Royal Government of Bhutan, opera professionals resident in Rome, and other important international collaborators.