Sixty-three-year-old Dinesh B. Singh is an engineer by profession. As managing director of the Energo Group and founder of Energo Engineering Projects Limited (EEPL), it would have been hard to surmise that his keen interest in the arts could be channelled into a winning business idea. But Singh is doing precisely that with his new production house Navrasa Duende, which seeks to change the face of live entertainment in India. But the company truly stands out with its attempts to sell Western classical art to Indian audiences.
Navrasa will hold a 'Global Festival', from February 23 to 25, which hopes to attract some 1,00,000 people to a carnival that will cover 35 acres with four live stages and include performances from the London Festival Opera and the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst 400 Indian and international performers. But just how popular or significant these troupes are on the world stage is not easy to guess.
"London Festival Opera, a critically acclaimed opera troupe, is famous for their performances in major theatres and festivals in UK and overseas. It is an opera performed for presidents, prime ministers, British and European Royalties, and is now coming to India. They will perform a full length three-hour opera in India. The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra brings together the finest Irish and European orchestral musicians. They have toured across the world and are coming to India with a 70-member team and 75 pieces," said Singh. The scale and ambition of the festival, which will run 100 hours of live performances across 20 performing arts genres, is indeed staggering.
But Singh has already walked the talk once. Last year in September, Navrasa came into the limelight after it brought to Delhi Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s renowned ballet Swan Lake. Co-produced with the Royal Russian Ballet of Ukraine, it was the first time that a professional ballet company performed Swan Lake in India. Although this legendary ballet's popularity has winnowed in its birthplace Russia, it is still quite awe-inspiring for classical art connoisseurs in other parts of the world. And getting the entire touring ballet company with its paraphernalia of elaborate costumes and sets to perform in not-so-well-equipped Delhi auditoriums was a feat in itself.
Singh was once a budding thespian with active membership in important theatre groups like IPTA and Dishanter, and found mentors in influential playwrights like S. M. Mehdi and B. M. Shah. Although he could not fulfil his dreams and pursue theatre as a full-time profession, his abiding interest in the arts has resulted in the creation of Navrasa Duende. And his attempts to bring in international opera companies and orchestras might spur auditoriums owners to step up their game if they wish to host these sumptuous productions.