THE audience were taken on a fairytale journey of heroism and bravery complete with a wicked witch and a beautiful princess in ‘Bangsawan Sinbad – Ratu Permata Dewa’ – a highly entertaining revival of the Malay opera in the form of theatre show.
Told in the language of ‘bangsawan’, the show was brought to Auditorium Dewan Budaya at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang by popular request after enjoying good reviews at the Panggung Bandaraya in Kuala Lumpur last December.
The show was graced by Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas and his consort as well as state VIPs.
Director and scriptwriter Rosnan Nordin said the story was an adaptation of the legendary ‘Hikayat Seribu Satu Malam’ (Tales of 1,001 Nights) of the Persian Syarib empire.
“I wanted to bring back the glory of the original Malay bangsawan in Penang, which was call ‘Bangsawan Parsi’ back in 1875.
“And as soon as I came up with the idea, I already had the main cast of Sinbad and supporting actors whom I feel were able to play the characters convincingly,” he said in a recent interview.
Rosnan said he imagined Sinbad as a heroic character who could not only fight and speak excellently in the Bangsawan language, but also “agile and light” on his feet.
Hence, he chose A. Arif A. Kadir (former Akademi Fantasia 7 teacher) who is a choreographer by profession. He carried out his role with pride and perfection and did not disappoint the audience.
As for the wicked Queen Sheeba, Rosnan recalled his childhood fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and picked local soprano Shafinaz Selamat. She was dressed in a pencil slim long dress, which clung to her slim body, complete with an elaborate headdress.
Rosnan said the story of ‘Batu Permata Dewa’ regaled the story of Sinbad’s resilience and bravery in overcoming the various obstacles before he could save the jewel belonging to Princess Jasmin (Jamaliah Azman), which was stolen by Queen Sheeba.
Produced by the National Arts and Culture Department, the bangsawan kept the audience enthralled.
The props were excellent, realistic and colourful while the producer took pains to revive the period costumes of bangsawan.