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Feature: "Mulan" blooms in Vienna State Opera House
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08:56, September 01, 2008

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When the curtain rose at the prestigious Vienna State Opera House on Saturday evening, blooming magnolia flowers allured the eyes of all the 2,000 viewers, who immediately indulged themselves into the legend of a Chinese girl called Mulan living some 1,500 years ago.

As one of the world's most famous opera houses, it staged " Mulan," a made-in-China opera which is based on the legend, for its European debut.

Mulan, by its literal meaning, is the magnolia flower in Chinese. With the explanation in German at the small LCD screen at the seats, local audience are aware of links between Magnolia flowers and Mulan, the heroine, and they were drawn to the fate ofthe girl.

"Tsiek tsiek and again tsiek tsiek, Mulan weaves, facing the door," members of the Vienna Imperial Philharmonic Choir sang the "Ode of Mulan" in chorus, unveiling the prelude to the four-act opera.

Mulan, played by celebrated Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan, emerged at the center of the stage in the costume of a girl at home but then changed into a military uniform after she decided tojoin the army in place of her ailing father in the country's anti-intruder efforts.

When Mulan waved good-bye to her parents in tears, some audience also wept, including a gentleman sitting close to the Xinhua reporter.

Mulan and General Liu Shuang, the hero who was played by renowned tenor Dai Yuqiang, fell into love after Mulan revealed her real identity, vowing to pursue their joint aspirations for peace.

The opera thus reached its climax when Magnolia flowers were blooming again at the stage, which drew thunderous applause from the audience.

Performers had to give several curtain calls amid the thunderous applause to extend their thanks to the audience.

Mulan's legendary story and the Chinese artists' marvelous performance have impressed the local audience and struck a sympathetic chord from them.

Andrzej Guzial, a Polish diplomat, was moved by Mulan's story. Though he had never heard about the story before, he said "I love it."

"This is an excellent work," said Vienna-based musician Peter Woells, clapping his hands with no intention to stop.

"Mulan is an old Chinese legend, but the opera interprets the legend in a brand new style, which is very successful," Woells said.

As Saturday is his wife's birthday, Woells said that watching such "excellent work" with his wife was an "excellent birthday gift" for her.

As "Mulan" adopts a new style by integrating traditional Chinese music, songs, dance with symphony and choir, it fascinatedmany local opera lovers.

In a written address, Austrian Culture Minister Claudia Schmied said "Mulan" would significantly enrich the musical life in the Vienna State Opera and Vienna at large.

"Mulan" sets a milestone as this is the first time for a Chinese opera to stage at the Vienna State Opera House, one of top three opera houses in the world, said some Chinese critics.

Source: Xinhua

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