Opera (Lhamo)


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This page is dedicated to H.H. Dalai Lama who has supported and encouraged the preservation of the Tibetan Performing Arts in exile.

The Lhamo Stories

Lhamo is a form of secular theatre, although all of its stories are based on religious themes - such as the conversion to Buddhism or tales of renunciation, compassion and devotion. The written form of the opera story, is called the namthar or "spiritual biography". Namthar is also the name used for the opera arias sung in the lhamo performances. From this text, the lhamo troupes make the trab shung, the opera libretto. The repertoire is limited, with only eight plays, although they may have been several more in the past. The stories are simple, containing elements from Buddhism and mythology but also local folklore and comic interludes.

A comical scene from a lhamo opera.

Several new operas have also been created by Tibetans in exile. One of them, the story of Jetsun Milarepa, a famous spiritual figure of Tibet, was performed for the first time in 1999 at the Shoton Festival which took place at TIPA.

Webpage last updated: 27.03.04
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