March 23, 2004
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi

TibetNet- News Flash

His Holiness the Dalai Lama graces the 10th Shoton Festival

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives for the 10th Shoton

Dharamsala, 23 March: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today blessed the 10th annual opera festival (Shoton) as the chief guest at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), the only organisation under the Tibetan administration founded with a mission to preserve the unique tradition of Tibetan performing arts.

Opera troupes from TIPA, Bylakuppee, Mungod, Bhandara, Mainpat, Nepal, Mussoorie and Kalimpong will perform Tibetan operas during the next nine days of the festival which has its origin in Tibet.

Gyalwa Karmapa and Kyabje Ling Rinpoche enjoying a performance

Ms. Kalsang Youdon Dagpo read out the annual report and expressed gratitude on her institute’s and the troupes’ behalf to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for gracing the occasion. Also present as guests were the 17th Karmapa, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and other lamas, Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration and representatives of the various non-governmental organisations.

Unlike earlier Shoton festivals hosted at TIPA, the guests and audience were served yoghurt following the Shoton tradition of Tibet.

Before leaving shortly after the recess, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to the gathering of approximately 2000 people. His Holiness said that the opera masters have worked so hard to preserve the opera tradition amongst the Tibetan exile community and that the people should pray for the dedicated opera masters who had contributed immensely to the Tibetans during their lifetime.

His Holiness also expressed pleasure over the fact that many youngsters have begun showing interest in the Tibetan opera.

A troupe performs for His Holiness

“With its roots in the masked dance-drama tradition of the Tibetan Royal Dynastic period (6th-9th Centuries), the development of Lhamo is attributed to the 14th century’s highly realised teacher and self-made engineer, Thangtong Gyalpo. Thangtong Gyalpo perceived the power of the performance as a medium of telling moral tales, based on Buddhist philosophy, in the words of the common people. Lhamo is a daylong performance played outdoors, traditionally under a large circular canvas tent, through a unique style of sung dialogue (arias), dance and pantomime. The music is simple, however the cymbals and drum create a remarkable atmosphere. Costumes generally imitate those of the Tibetan aristocracy, and some characters wear masks, which portray their personality with bold symbolism”, explains the institute’s portal (

The Shoton opera festival began to be held each year since 1995 and the number of troupes participating has gone up in the recent times.

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