Seriously… I am highly cheered to learn from rec.arts.sf.written the following piece of old, yet still juicy, news.
It seems that our well beloved Somtow Papinian Sucharitkul (aka Somtow Sucharitkul or S.P. Somtow, to eighties and nineties science fiction fans, respectively) has a perfectly good reason for not having put out many novels lately, and for not hanging around the ol’ con suite.
He founded the Bangkok Opera! And put on the Ring Cycle! With Thai and Buddhist staging!
If you’ve read anything by Somtow (that’s his family name), you already know that this is the PERFECT fit for his talents. After all, he already wrote an entire novel cycle that was just like an opera. He’s also intensely proud of his native land, and determined to help it get forward in the world. So this is awesome.
I do love the uncharacteristically scruffy artiste look….
It also amuses me that the New York Times cannot bring itself to mention those unmentionable words which most aptly describe Somtow’s output: “science fiction”, “fantasy”, and “horror”. Cult. Well, admittedly, Somtow’s horror is splatterpunk, ie, grosser than normal horror, which is why I don’t read his horror. Maybe that’s what they mean by cult.
I’m also vastly amused to learn that Somtow, in his composer mode, did his own finishing off of Turandot‘s last act. I bet it’s awesome. He’s got scads of talent and skill. I don’t normally like “modern” music, but I have to say I appreciated Somtow’s album of music for his big huge galactic cycle o’ books. Not too many filk symphonies out there, I’m tellin’ ya.
You don’t meet too many Renaissance men these days (except in the SCA, where you also meet a lot of Renaissance women and large weapons). Somtow is definitely one. I will always enjoy the memory of talking to him in a con suite he was minding while everyone else was still asleep, with no other company but somebody’s kitten. I hope we meet again someday.
And I shall definitely have to think about tourism in Thailand. If I can raise the cash and the opera’s got tickets, I really want to see the Bangkok Opera and Somtow’s productions. They look like his novels looked like in my head, and that’s a good thing.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
There’s a DVD of Somtow’s Aida! (With sample clips I could see if they weren’t .wmv, sigh.)
There are CDs out of Somtow conducting opera! With free sample songs! Yay!
Nancy Yuen – Somtow Sucharitkul: Per l’Amore
Somtow Sucharitkul: Requiem: In Memoriam 9/11 (I think I’d heard about this.)