OPERA > Where Elephants Weep

a Khmer rock opera

Chenla Theater, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
World premiere, November 2008

Music Him Sophy
Libretto Catherine Filloux
Director Robert McQueen
Sets and lights Marcus Doshi
Sound Jeffrey Yue

Sam, a refugee from the Khmer Rouge genocide, leaves America and returns to his homeland, Cambodia. Committed to finding his roots in his native culture, he unexpectedly falls in love with Bopha, a Cambodian pop-star. The music fuses traditional Cambodian music with Western rock and rap. The opera is sung in English and Khmer, with surtitles in both languages.

WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP recently premiered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 7 sold-out performances and became a popular and critical hit. One of the live performances was shot for exclusive national broadcast by the largest Cambodian television station, CTN, and was aired on December 25, 2008 reaching nearly 2 million viewers nation-wide. The second scheduled broadcast was canceled due to a social/political controversy over the roles of actors playing religious monks in the piece. An unprecedented meeting between artists, religious leaders and ministers of government has taken place to attempt to resolve several core issues raised by the protest - making WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP one of the few musicals since HAIR to create a reflection of and debate surrounding contemporary social issues.

Court ballet dancer
Court ballet dancer