Years of Culture



Debut Performance of Hayati Delights Audiences in Qatar


On 22nd May, the grand opening of “Hayati: Panji Searching for the Essence of Love” was performed for an audience of invited guests and esteemed dignitaries from Qatar and Indonesia in the elegant setting of Katara Opera House. The immersive musical was then debuted in a two-night run for the general public in Doha as part of the official launch of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.
Hayati Debut Performance in Qatar
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Hayati: Panji Searching for the Essence of Love is an original Javanese musical performance of traditional Indonesian folklore tales, presented by Years of Culture in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Research, and Technology.

While the show is based on stories that have been told for generations, Hayati was created especially for the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture by Indonesian director Rama Soeprapto and his talented creative team. 

“Qatar and Indonesia share a lot when it comes to cultural heritage and its influence on our societies today, not least of which is the pride we have in our ancestors’ wisdom and teachings. “Hayati: Panji Searching for the Essence of Love” goes in search of life’s meaning to find it in service to others, a beautiful thread that weaves us all together in today’s interconnected global community. I am proud to share this specially commissioned performance with the people of Qatar as part of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.” - Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Ridwan Hassan.

A Debut Performance To Remember

The Grand Opening event at Katara Opera House on 22nd May 2023 was a tremendous success, with Qatar Museums Chairperson H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Director General of Culture, Indonesia, Dr. Hilmar Farid, Indonesia’s Ambassador to Qatar H E Ridwan Hassan and other important officials in attendance.

Following a triumphant opening night, audiences in Doha were equally delighted by the public performances given on 23rd and 24th May at Katara Opera House. Theatregoers in Doha experienced a dazzling insight into Indonesian culture, music, crafts and storytelling, as the musical brought the traditional Javanese stories to life in a new and exciting way.

Bringing “Hayati: Panji Searching for the Essence of Love” To Life

The creative team, cast and crew of Hayati worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create an immersive musical filled with magnificent costumes, impressive choreography and outstanding performances. 

Experienced director Rama Soeprapto worked with an accomplished team of creatives from Indonesia to bring the musical to life. Titien Wattimena (Assistant Director and Scriptwriter), Iskandar K. Loedin (Artistic Director), as well as Gunarto (Music Director) and Producer Bayu Pontiagust all collaborated on the project. 

The music was composed especially for Hayati and the visual elements were designed to reflect the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia in a contemporary way. The costumes were designed by renowned fashion designer Era Soekam, known for using traditional textiles such as Batik.

The theatre company was made up of skilled performers, dancers and actors including Achmad Dipoyono as the lead role of Panji, Kadek Dewi Aryani as Skartaji, I Ketit Rina as the Forest Guardian, lead dancer Fajar Sariadi and others. 

The Unique History Behind Hayati

The name “Hayati” means living and the narrative is based on “the Wedhatama Script”, a historic Javanese transcript describing the meaning and purpose of life. Told through five acts, Hayati follows the journey of Panji as he encounters many trials and tribulations in search of love.

The Panji and Sekartaji stories can be traced back to the 12th century, when they were originally told in the East Javanese courts of the Kediri and Janggala Kingdoms. Traditionally performed using shadow puppets (wayang) to a soundtrack of Javanese gamelan music, the folkloric tales have been adapted and reinterpreted countless times throughout Indonesia over hundreds of years. The stories are considered so important within Indonesian culture that they were awarded a special status by the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme in 2017. 

The Years of Culture team would like to thank everyone who took part behind the scenes in the making of “Hayati: Panji Searching For The Essence Of Love” and we hope that this spectacular show will stay with audiences for many years to come.