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Symphony Orchestra of India to have a woman at its helm

The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) is organising its ninth Celebrity Season, but it’s only the first time that a woman is at the helm of affairs. Ironically, she is also of Indian origin.

music Updated: Sep 29, 2010 12:53 IST
Shweta Mehta

The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) is organising its ninth Celebrity Season, but it’s only the first time that a woman is at the helm of affairs. Ironically, she is also of Indian origin.

Anna Randine Overby will be conducting the famed Tosca, a 110-year old Italian opera, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Gala. Overby, who grew up in the Nilgiri Hills had her first brush with the opera at 18, when she went to Norway to study medicine.

“I saw The Magic Flute by Mozart and was totally hooked,” she recalls. “I changed my study plans immediately, to become an artiste. My parents weren’t happy.” Considered Western and elite, the opera hasn’t quite received its due as a performing art in India, but Overby isn’t disheartened. “Even in Europe, it’s usually the elite who go to the opera. But I’ve come across a few connoisseurs in India who seem to know more than I do. They are clued in on great works from the twenties and thirties too,” she contends.

“It is exactly like a Bollywood film,” says the conductor, of Puccini’s masterpiece. “There is love, passion, jealousy and even a tragic end.” To encourage more first-time viewers, English subtitles have also been provided. Overby, who is also the founder of Opera Bergen, is trying to get youngsters in Norway involved in the art. Next year, she will switch focus to a more traditional opera in Norway. In the meantime, she’s gearing up for The Paradise and the Angel, in November. Ironically, the first act is set in India. “I love this country, it’s my second home,” she concludes.

Thursday, September 30 at 7.00 pm Jamshed Bhabha Theatre
Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
Tickets: Rs.4000, 3000, 2000 & 1000/-
Box Office: August 16th for SOI members, August 19th for NCPA Members, August 22nd for General Public

NCPA Box Office: 22824567, 66223724
Online Booking: www.ncpamumbai.com or www.bookmyshow.com
Telebooking & Home Delivery: 39895050