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'Matah Ati': An Extra Ordinary Journey Through War and Love

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'Matah Ati': An Extra Ordinary Journey Through War and Love

Posted on 18 May 2011

The Spectacular Matah Ati dance drama finally came home to play at one of the grandest theatres in Indonesia’s capital city, theTeater Jakarta, at Taman Ismail Marzuki Art Center, in response to the hype that had grown since its successful world premiere in Singapore in 2010. Performing at a special session for the media on May 12th 2011, the Matah Ati colossal dance opera left the highly expectant audience completely spellbound all through its one- and- a-half hour show.

An extraordinary journey through war and love, Matah Ati is based on a true story set in the ancient Mangkunegaran Palace in Solo, otherwise also known as the city of Surakarta, Central Java. A gripping story of passion, loss and courage, Matah Ati takes audiences on an epic journey back in time to 18th century Java through its operatic Javanese songs and music.  This glorious tale of love and war is told through its central character, Rubiyah, a Javanese peasant woman who fought against Dutch colonialism alongside a local prince, called Raden Mas Said. She married Raden Mas Said and became the mother of kings in the then Mangkunegaran Sultanate in SoloCentral Java.

Inspired by the classic Javanese Langendriyan, a dance-drama performance that collaborates music, narration and movement, the Matah Ati performance has successfully presented ancient Javanese values in culture and traditions for modern viewers. The endless standing ovation from the press and invitees as the cast and creators appeared to give their final bows was solid proof of this.

All Photos by Andika Saputra/