Robert Turnbull arrived in Cambodia in 1997, his twin careers in music and in cultural journalism framed his contributions to the Cambodian cultural scene. Working with Fred Frumberg, Robert encouraged and supported the rebuilding performing arts in Cambodia. Robert made friends readily, enthusiastically sharing his passion for music, including assisting Cambodian musicians to further their musical studies overseas and looking for ways to bring Western opera to the Cambodian public.
He had a vision to create a performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute in one of the temples at Angkor. However, this would require some years of planning and preparation, identifying local and international musicians, as well as seeking support from local and international sources before it could become a reality.
In 2013 Italian opera stage director Stefano Vizioli and musical director Aaron Carpene were invited by Robert to join the project. Testing the water with two concerts in Phnom Penh brought many enthusiasts onto the scene, and further whetted Robert’s appetite.