English opera version of classic Chinese novel 'Dream of the Red Chamber' debuts at San Francisco Theater

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/13 18:48:39

A scene from the Beijing stage performance of Dream of the Red Chamber in 2012 Photo: IC


Promotional material for 2010 TV series Dream of the Red Chamber Photo: IC

One of China's most famous works of classic literature, Cao Xueqin's epic novel Dream of the Red Chamber has been adapted into numerous TV dramas, theaters stage plays and traditional operas in China.

However, the version of the book that made its global debut at the San Francisco Theater on Saturday marks the first time the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) work has been adapted into an English opera.

With a production team including veteran Chinese artists such as renowned Taiwanese director and playwright Stan Lai and Academy Award-winning Hong Kong production designer Tim Yip, the epic story of the rise and fall of four powerful clans in ancient China is brought to life through the performances of Chinese tenor Shi Yijie, South Korean soprano Pureum Jo and Japanese-American mezzo soprano Irene Roberts in the lead roles.

The literature-turned opera places more focus on the love triangle among the three main characters instead of getting wrapped up in presenting all the details from the 120-chapter novel, according to the show's producers.

According to a report on chinanews.com published on Sunday, the 88-page program for the show provides detailed illustrations and explanations concerning costume design, the main cast, choreography, and other behind-the-scenes work that went into the adaptation.

Although an English opera, subtitles in Chinese are shown on screens on either side of the stage during the performance.

The 3-hour play will run for six shows to the end of the month and is set to appear at the 45th Hong Kong Arts Festival next year.
Newspaper headline: Dream a little dream

Posted in: Theater

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