Esplanade Presents

Music | Film

Samsara – A Cine-Concert

An Esplanade Commission
Garin Nugroho (Indonesia)

10 May 2024, Fri, 8pm

1hr 20mins

(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Concert Hall

This event is over.


What is one willing to give up to fulfil their insatiable desires?


Following the internationally acclaimed Setan Jawa—which premiered in 2017 to a sold-out crowd at Esplanade—respected Indonesian director Garin Nugroho returns for the world premiere of Samsara, a stunning cinematic experience that marries film with live music.


Samsara follows the story a man from an impoverished family who is rejected by the wealthy parents of the woman he loves. He strikes a bargain with the Monkey King, performing a dark ritual to gain wealth but in the process, curses his wife and child into suffering.  Rooted in Indonesian mysticism, this is a universal narrative about the insatiable hunger to be what one is not, and the boundaries one is prepared to breach to realise this. 


Like its predecessor Setan Jawa, Samsara is a “cine-concert” that draws from German black-and-white films from the 1920s as well as wayang kulit (traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry). While the former featured an evocative silent film accompanied by live gamelan music and a Western classical orchestra, Samsara forgoes the orchestra for vibrant, live electronic music. The production marries this electronic soundscape with traditional Balinese performance elements like the gamelan orchestra, traditional dance, masks and wayang kulit. The film and live performance stars two Asia-Pacific luminaries of the stage and screen, Indonesian film actor Ario Bayu and Indonesian-Australian dancer Juliet Widyasari Burnett. 


Under the bold visionary eye of Garin Nugroho and the exceptional work of a powerhouse creative team, Samsara promises to be a bold and memorable cinematic experience, seamlessly bringing together the art forms, nuances, and traditions of Indonesia’s past and present.


Production Credits
Lead Actors: Ario Bayu & Juliet Widyasari Burnett
Supporting Actors: Gus Bang Sada, Valentine Payen-Wicaksono, Siko Setyanto, I Wayan Wira Kusuma, Aryani Willems & Cok Sawitri


Director: Garin Nugroho
Music Composer: Wayan Sudirana & Kasimyn of Gabber Modus Operandi
Musicians: Gabber Modus Operandi & Gamelan Yuganada


A commission by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Produced by Cineria Films, Garin Workshop & Lynx Films
With the support of Ministry of Culture, Research and Technology Republic of Indonesia and Yayasan Puri Kauhan Ubud


Producer: Gita Fara & Aldo Swastia
Executive Producer: Ario Bayu & Rob O’Hare
Supervising Producer: Jala Adolphus
Choreographer: Ida Ayu Wayan Arya Satyani
Cinematographer: Batara Goempar
Costume Designer: Retno Ratih Damayanti
Production Designer: Vida Sylvia
Stage Designer: Iskandar Loedin
Sound Recordist and Designer: Trisno
Editor: Beck
Co-producers: Rai Pendet, Batara Goempar
Line Producer: Ineke Bajalaras


Opera Jawa at The Projector
You can also catch the screening of Garin Nugroho’s Opera Jawa at The Projector on 7 May, 7.30pm. More details about the event here.

  • NC16: Some Sexual References.

  • This production features the use of strobe lighting.

  • Latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable point in the performance (if any). Latecomers will be seated at Circle 3.

Admission Age:
16 and above.
Things to Note:
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Artist Information

Ario Bayu


Ario Bayu is one of the most renowned Indonesian film actors, whose works ranges from Indonesian to Hollywood film productions. Born in Jakarta to Javanese parents, Ario Bayu had spent his formative years in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand and studied at the Globe Theatre in London.  


In his first break through role, Ario Bayu plays a detective in Dead Time: Kala, Indonesia's first tribute to film noir which won rave reviews from critics, directed by Joko Anwar. His latest work is Cigarette Girl (Gadis Kretek, 2023), a Netflix original series directed by Kamila Andini, which was premiered and well received by the audience in 2023 Busan International Film Festival.  

Gabber Modus Operandi


Born out of a shared obsession for high-octane, fast-paced sounds, Gabber Modus Operandi explode an extensive range of influences into vibrant, outrageous productions.


The duo of Kasimyn and Ican Harem fuse the challenging sounds of gabber, digital hardcore, punk, and noise with a number of uniquely Indonesian sounds such as jathilan (a trance dance), dangdut koplo (a subgenre of a popular dance and folk music), and funkot (reminiscent of both European happy hardcore as well as dangdut).


Most recently, Kasimyn produced several tracks for Björk’s celebrated 2022 release Fossora. Since 2021, Gabber Modus Operandi have also been busy performing within contemporary artist Tianzhuo Chen’s evolving durational performance piece, TRANCE.

Garin Nugroho


A pioneer of New Indonesian cinema, Garin Nugroho works across film and live performance, negotiating the complexities of his country and culture through diverse filmmaking styles and artistic disciplines. His works range across film such as short films, ads, music videos, documentaries, theatre, performance art and art installations. Garin has also been a founder of several festivals, such as Jogja Asia Netpact Film Festival (JAFF).    


Garin is a recipient of various international awards:  Order of Arts and Letters from France, Stella D'Italia Cavaliere from Italy, Honourary Award at the Singapore International Film Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award from Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival and many more.   


Garin is considered the pioneer of a new generation of avant-garde filmmakers, post-1990. Aside from creating works, he is an author, founder of film and art festivals, and has also established an NGO for democracy.   Also known as a cultural expert and practitioner, he made internationally acclaimed films like Opera Jawa (Requiem from Java, 2006) and Setan Jawa (2016) with strong cultural identities.  

I Wayan Sudirana

I Wayan Sudirana is a composer and ethnomusicologist who graduated from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He studied Bali’s ancient music along with world musical traditions, such as Pungmul and Samulnori music from Korea, drumming ensembles from Ghana, West Africa, South Indian drumming, and Western classical music. With this experience, he developed his music with a strong foundation to find a new identity and music for gamelan. Now, Sudirana is active as an Associate Professor in Music at Postgraduate Study Programme ISI Denpasar, as well as being the founder and owner of the Gamelan Yuganada community. 

Ida Ayu Wayan Arya Satyani (Bumi Bajra)

Ida Ayu Wayan Arya Satyani, fondly called Dayu Ani, is a dancer, choreographer and lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Denpasar. She has given birth to various dance works which includes the film and stage production of Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen) directed by Kamila Andini. Dayu Ani has been in the world of dance since she was 14 years old at Sanggar Maha Bajra Sandhi and until today, she continues to work hard to nurture young people in the studio, which is now known as the Bumi Bajra Sandhi Foundation.  

Juliet Widyasari Burnett


Indonesian-Australian Juliet Widyasari Burnett was born on Gadigal land (Sydney). She is one of Australia’s most recognised dancers after her years at The Australian Ballet, where the roles of Giselle, Odette in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and abstract classical works by the likes of George Balanchine, Glen Tetley and Stephen Baynes became her signature.  


In 2016, she moved to Europe to take up a role as dancer with Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Belgium, where she danced the repertory of Pina Bausch, Alain Platel, William Forsythe, Akram Khan (in the title role of his contemporary production of Giselle) and Trisha Brown amongst others.  


Her work in her mother’s country of Indonesia includes performing contemporary and classical work. Juliet has been trained in her grandmother’s art of Javanese classical dance, and other traditional Javanese dances and art forms including the martial art of Pencak Silat.  


Juliet explores a hybrid of Javanese dance and arts with Western classical and contemporary forms, navigating the confluence of dance, theatre and music. Coming from a rich artistic heritage through her Javanese bloodline, this culture is the pulse of her work, in particular the meditation techniques and philosophies passed down to her from her uncle, renowned poet, playwright and activist W.S. Rendra.  


In 2021, Juliet was named winner of the Arts and Culture category of the 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards.  

Date & Time

10 May 2024, Fri


Esplanade Concert Hall
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Cat 1 $70 -
Cat 2 $50 -
Cat 3 $35 $28

Restricted View: $15 (Limited tickets)

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