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French opera Le Roi d'Ys hits Beijing stage
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Poster of  French Opera Le Roi d'Ys. [Photo: sina.com.cn]

"Unlike 'Carmen' – 'Carmen' is a wonderful piece -- this piece needs so much refinement. It has to have a good conductor and great singers. French is already a difficult language to sing, so it's hard to have something really refined."

To retain the originality of the piece, the costumes and stage decorations and props will be shipped over from France. Still, technicians at the Beijing theater will have to employ all of their skills to bring the show to life. In the climax, 13 tons water will pour onto the stage, to fully express the conflict to the audience. Fan comments on the logistics.

"Making 13 tons of water flood the city without damaging the equipment is a hard task. We are still working on it. The reason why we are spending so much time and energy on it is because we are striving to recreate the best French artwork on the stage of National Center for the Performing Arts."

Michel Plasson and Yu Feng will conduct the opera, which will star both French and Chinese performers.

Background of "Le Roi d'Ys"

The story is founded upon a Breton legend about Magared and Rozenn, the daughters of the King of Ys. Both princesses love the warrior Mylio, but he has eyes only for Rozenn. In revenge, Magared betrays her father's city to Karnac, his enemy. She gives Karnac keys to the sluices standing between the town and the sea. Just as the town and all of its inhabitants are about to swept away, Magared throws herself into the sea in remorse. St. Corentin, the patron saint of Ys, accepts her sacrifice and the waters abate.

(CRI March 12, 2008)

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