I'm still searching and I'm sure there are a lot many more Western operas with Indian themes that have faded into history.

You have to be a little more authentic.

The fact that it is set in a phantasmagorical island somewhere in ancient Sri Lanka throws up immense possibilities to explore this cultural hybrid, whether it's through costumes, sets or simply because of the Hindu environment that forms the spine of the story.

We've always tried to focus on productions that bind two cultures.

It's been really, really tough.

Even though there are so many Indian touches, this opera is very deeply rooted in French operatic traditions. For instance, in one scene I describe Shiva as being a blonde woman. That might seem ridiculous to you and me, but it's how Bizet perceived it back in the 19th century.

Instead of having a completely Western ballet, we have a ballet with elements of Indian dance.

It's a theme familiar to Indian audiences.