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Pure Chinese Turandot storms Beijing
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"I saw this production in Shanghai in April, and I was very impressed, because the whole production, the sets and the designs are very Chinese, very original, also very glamorous."

Soprano Sun Xiuwei sings the part of Princess Turandot in the local production. Like Mok, has performed in many operas around the world.

Princess Turandot is usually considered to be cruel and cold-blooded. But this time, Director Chen Xinyi has tried to create a different Turandot.

Chen says he believes that the princess is a naive and pure girl who is is just influenced by her ancestor. But when she falls in love, she is transformed into a girl with a warm heart.

"Turandot is a fairytale about China, a mysterious one. I am thinking that if this princess could be slimmer, it would feel totally different when she says, 'Kill,' compared with a 100-kg princess. So this time I will make Princess Turandot a mythic one."

Warren Mok agrees with Chen.

"Think about Caluf, as a prince and Turando as the princess. They are actually human beings, not very brutal like the westerns think about the Chinese or about how Turando is supposed to be. So this is a new element in the opera. Both Sun Xiuwei and Shen Na, wonderful singers, they look beauty as well, not fat. Normally, the singers are like 100 kg, heavier than me, taller than me. Hey, man, why should I love them? Why shouldn't I love Liu? Liu is a beautiful slave. In this production, everything makes sense."

She Na, a very slim and tender soprano, will also sing the part of Princess Turandot. She is known by audiences for her performance in the French opera "Le Roi d'Ys."

"Since it's a story about an oriental princess, I think Chinese people are entitled to portray the Chinese princess and prince."

Mok is very confident that this production will be successful, especially with the excellent acoustics in the performance center.

NCPA also invited 30 Olympic volunteers to watch a performace of Turandot as a thank-you for their hard work during the Beijing Games.

Turandot will be performed at the NCPA until September 2.

(CRI August 30, 2008)

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