(Reproduced from the Daily News of January 26, 2002)
They say music is a universal language. If so Master Khemadasa is a person who speaks to the world through his creations.
After a lapse of two years, Sri Lankan music aficionados will get an opportunity of experiencing another masterly creation by the veteran musician Premasiri Khemadasa when his latest opera "Sondura Warnadaasi" will be presented at the Lionel Wendt Theatre tomorrow (27).
"Sondura Warnadaasi" is based on an interpretation of 'Kanawera Jathaka' where Warnadaasi, the leading courtesan of the city falls in love with a leader of dacoits. The dacoit leader is no other than Bosath, the Buddha in a one of his births.
Maestro Khemadasa possesses a vast knowledge of theory and practice of both Eastern and Western music. Khemadasa has created music for films, theatre and teledramas in different styles and remarkable rhythms for over four decades.
As a path-breaking musician, he made a unique contribution to the local music as he gifted two operas (Manasa Wila and Doramadala) and one cantata (Pirinivan Mangalyaya).
Opera "Sondura Warnadaasi", no doubt will be another creative explosion. This Jathaka story has every component of an opera, Khemadasa says, explaining why he specially selected it. "Besides, it has a contemporary value and is true even today." Eastern raagas synchronised with Western harmonies will produce scintillating music in this opera.
"This is not enough. More music experiences such as operas and cantata should be created if we are to improve local music.
There is a discerning audience for music," added Master Khemadasa.
The libretto of this opera is by Lucien Bulathsinhala. Costumes and stage-decor are designed by Upali Herath while make up is by Buddhadasa Galappaththi.
The opera is presented by a team of students from the School of Performing Arts - Khemadasa Foundation.
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