On March 19, Press Club, Calcutta, saw a commendable inclusion of classical music in its repertoire of Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Sarod player Tarun Naik laid emphasis on the raagdari, albeit hesitant in the beginning. Most of his efforts drowned under the drone of the electronic tanpura. Later, his confident, simple and direct approach brought out the essence of raga Shri very gently. He seemed to enjoy the jod segment better than the alaap and after the jhala Debashish Choudhury joined him in the jhaptal gatkari. From this point the recital took the shape of the jugalbandi as the tabla was allowed to dominate. The raagmalika in the Pilu set to teental was more impressive, with many ragas emerging like sparkling gems.
Vikram Iyengar tries to unite the fluidity of Indian classical music and dance with Shakespearean dramatic vigour in Crossings: Exploring the Facets of Lady Macbeth (Max Mueller Bhavan, March 21). The performance takes up some of the most intense soliloquies in Macbeth. The four women on stage stick to no fixed characters, slipping constantly into one another's roles, and repeating and exchanging lines. This doppelg'nger effect works well only up to a point, and even the novelty of the ritualistic performance borrowing heavily from Kathak, Manipuri and Bharat Natyam traditions wears thin as the play progresses. The presentation fails to work out the cross-cultural references, like the one relating Lady Macbeth to the demon Putana, and the audience is confronted with a production that often borders on the obscure.
Veteran sitar player Subrata Roychoudhuri, under the aegis of Spandan, presented a bouquet of ragas at the Gyan Mancha (March 20). He commenced with Bihag. The over statement of graces like Kampan, zamzama and gamaks made his alaap rather restive and the raga's main features were revealed after a longish introduction. The climax of the jod, instead of turning towards the jhala, came as a prelude to the madhya teental composition. The gatkari, accompanied by Shaibal Chatterjee's confident, bold tabla, included very little phrase development but lots of taans with stress on a variety of tihais. An appealing Kirwani dhun set to deepchandi threw a challenge to the tabla with a fast jhala merging softly into the refrain before fading out finally.