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English-language opera adapted from Chinese literature masterpiece to premiere in mainland

By Hu Ximeng (People's Daily Online)    15:53, August 15, 2017

A scene in the English-language opera "Dream of the Red Chamber" (file photo)

Having achieved a huge success at its world premiere in San Francisco, the English-language opera adapted from the Chinese classic “Dream of the Red Chamber” is scheduled to stage at Beijing Poly Theatre on Sept. 8. After its debut in Beijing, the three-hour magnificent opera will then travel to Changsha, Hunan province, and Wuhan, Hubei province, in late September.

Presented by San Francisco Opera, the work was produced by a powerhouse team assembled to combine Western-style opera with this Chinese quintessential literature written by Cao Xueqin in the 18th century. Famed Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng and Tony Award-winning librettist David Henry Hwang were invited as the composer and playwright, followed up by Taiwanese director Stan Lai and Academy-Award winning designer Tim Yip.

A scene in the English-language opera "Dream of the Red Chamber" (file photo)

The main storyline of the opera “Dream of the Red Chamber” highlights the rise and fall of the Jia Clan, accompanied by the love triangle between Jia’s young heir Bao Yu and two young ladies, Dai Yu and Bao Chai. The Monk, a mysterious character who is portrayed as all-knowing, is narrated as an outsider throughout the dreamlike prologue and epilogue. “I aim to blend Chinese aesthetics and Asian philosophies within a contemporary sensibility,” said Director Stan Lai.

The majority of the cast are well-known and rising Asian singers. Chinese tenor Yijie Shi and South Korean soprano Pureum Jo played the part of Bao Yu and Dai Yu. Japanese-American mezzo-soprano Irene Roberts performed as Bao Chai. According to a review written by the Los Angeles Times, all the singers boasted “traditionally accomplished Western opera voices” and the atmosphere of the opera built by the orchestra was “marvelous scented.” 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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