Imagine a Peking opera performance telling the story of John Woo's "Red Cliff" while reminding you of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
Director and choreographer Zhang Jigang, seen here in an undated photo, will make his Peking opera directorial debut when his version of "Red Cliff" premieres at the end of the year. [CRIOnline]
Zhang Jigang, assistant director of the August 8 spectacular, will make his Peking opera directorial debut when his version of "Red Cliff" premieres at the end of the year, the director announced on Wednesday.
The battle of Red Cliff, a well-known historical event in China, tells the story of a magnificent water battle which occurred around 208 AD. In John Woo's smash-hit film, the biggest scenes involved more than 2,000 cast members.
Such scale leaves a doubt as to whether Zhang will be able to tell the story on the limited theatrical stage.
Yet the director, who seemed to want to keep details under wraps, declined to elaborate on what the audience can expect from this show.
However, Zhang did say he would create more opportunities for the beauty Xiao Qiao, a role previously downplayed by male-dominant operatic adaptations.
In John Woo's star-studded film, Xiao Qiao is played by Taiwan model-turned actress Lin Chiling.
Like Woo's film, Zhang's opera will also feature well-known stars. The director says the cast will include Yu Kuizhi and more than a dozen first-class Peking opera masters.
The play is set to premiere at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts on December 22.
Zhang Jigang, whose works also include the well-received "Thousand-Hand Guanyin" dance, confessed that he was not a Peking opera fan. The upcoming show is partly for his 92-year-old mother, who the director says has shown him the necessity of promoting traditional Chinese art.
(CRI November 13, 2008)