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The story of Noble Dakini Nangsa Obum (11-12 century)

Traditional Tibetan opera

The story of Noble Dakini Nangsa Obum (11-12 century)

Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), India

Director: Samten Dhondup

Performed with Tibetian with Hungarian and English subtitles

4 hours with 2 breaks.

This story is a narration of an event that took place in Gyantse region of Tibet. It is fashioned into operatic medium from the verses of early minstrels in Tibet; they sang it from place to place.

A long time ago, in the village of Zhangpei Kurnangpa there lived a well to do peasant family called Phehue Nangba. They led a simple and contented life, but they had not children to inherit the wealth they accumulated. They fervently invoked the Goddess Tara for a child. One night, after the recitation of 100 000 prayers, Nyangtsa Seldon had an amazing dream: a lotus sprouts within her womb and celestial maidens (dakinis) appeared, making offering to this lotus.

After some months, Nyangtsa Seldon gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  The little baby auspiciously made an offering of her mother’s milk to the Goddess Tara.  They named her Nangsa Woebum which means, „One given to earth, whose radiance would liberate 100 000 sentient beings.”

The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) is a premier institute that is entrusted with the responsibility of preserving and promoting Tibet’s ancient and unique culture including its rich musical heritage and arts. The institute was founded by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on reaching Kalimpong in August 1959.


Dhondup Tsering, Samten Dhondup, Tenzin Phuntsok, Norbu Samphel, Tenzin Jangchup, Tenzin Jorden, Tenzin Nyima, Jamyang Gyaltso, Tenzin Nyima, Tenzin Yeshi, Tenzin Tsetan, Tenzin Kalsang, Tenzin Jampa, Tenzin Samdup, Tenzin Lungring, Tsering Paldon, Nyima Tsamchoe, Tenzin Yangkyi, Tenzin Tsomo, Tenzin Metok, Tenzin Yangdon, Pema Doma, Tenzin Pema, Tenzin Dawa, Tenzin Moelam, Tenzin Dolkar, Tenzin Lhadon 

Stage Designer: Samten Dhondup & Tenzin Phuntsok
Costume Designer: Handicraft Section, TIPA
Choreographer: Samten Dhondup

Main Stage
Samten Dhondup

Samten Dhondup

Samten Dhondup is amongst the few Opera Masters in Exile, whose outreach and influence in the field of performing arts has been well known all over. Indeed, this role in life also translated into a few film roles. He was born to a Tibetan Guerrilla father and a farmer mother in Mustang, Nepal. His childhood was spent witnessing the resistance fighters in Mustang. After the closure of the camps in 1972, his father shifted to Kathmandu, working in a carpet factory. Around the time he was 9 years old, he was sent for schooling to the TCV, Dharamsala. His romance with performing and acting started as an excuse to leave attending classes. When he asked the principal to be sent to the TIPA for education in Tibetan Opera, he was asked what basic qualification did he have for it? He responded that as a child he played the flute. Soon, the TCV sponsored his three-year course at the TIPA. Through the years, he has travelled with the troupe performing throughout the world and now mentors the next generation of artists at TIPA.

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