Bhagavad Gita. Solidly one of India's greatest gifts to the world. A tome of prose, moral lessons and journey written between the sixth and fifth centuries before the common era. Last night the Dallas Opera presented Arjuna's Dilemma: a capture of the struggle of conscience and consciousness between Arjuna and Krishna, beloved Hindu cowherd.
This 2017 production promised a synthesis of Indian narrative fused with classical, jazz, chamber and musical Indian traditions against a dramatic projection. Because that's life, right? Not purely one sense or another--a melding of perspectives and experiences. Asia isn't the place we used to turn to on the other side of the topographical globe: Asia is everywhere.
Arjuna's Dilemma synthesized these art forms breathlessly: tabla met saxophone, choirister met chanter, and a new form of sound drifted with precedence across the Winspear Opera House. The choristers, as Krishna, held the story together in tandem with Arjuna: meditative video projections a canopy to our experience. It was arresting, calming, intoxicating all at once.
Bravos to the Dallas Opera for presenting this modern-day tableaux of ancient wisdom: the perils of conflict, consciousness, the inner war to do the right thing. Messages of the Gita's sensible wisdom were projected across clouds and graphic. slow images of water and rice falling, as if to mirror the simplicity of taking all the chaos away.
Prior to the performance at a reception honoring the collaboration between the opera and our museum I shared an excerpt from the Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran in one of my most cherished books: God Makes the Rivers to Flow: