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New version of 'Peony Pavilion' makes debut in New York


10:02, December 03, 2012


NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- An updated version of "Peony Pavilion," one of China's best-loved classical operas, made its debut Friday in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, fascinating American audience with the glamour of Chinese culture.

The romantic work, written by playwright Tang Xianzu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is one of the most important works of Kunqu opera and first performed in 1598.

The 70-minute version of the opera has been adapted and directed by Tan Dun, one of the most iconic contemporary Chinese composers, who is best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

Huang Doudou, one of China's most prominent dancers, choreographed the drama, and Zhang Jun, a well-known Kunqu opera artist, played the hero.

The drama remains faithful to the core plot, which features a love story between Du Liniang, the daughter of a wealthy official, and Liu Mengmei, a talented but poor young scholar.

Du and Liu, who never met in reality, fell in love with each other and got married near the Peony Pavilion in Du's dream.

All the six performances of the opera, co-produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the U.S. China Cultural Institute, have sold out in advance. The show will be staged until Sunday.

This is the first time that an operatic performance has taken place in the Astor Court, a re-creation of a Ming Dynasty-style Chinese garden.

Modeled on a courtyard in the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets, or Wang Shi Yuan in Chinese, in China's Suzhou city, the Astor Court was completed in 1981 by a team of 26 Chinese craftsmen. It is the first permanent cultural exchange between the United States and China

From the Ming Dynasty, Kunqu opera was often performed in gardens as part of Chinese garden culture. In 2001, the art form was proclaimed by UNESCO as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

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