The casting call has wrapped up for a Chinese musical version of Carmen. Based on the opera by Georges Bizet, Carmen - Passionate Love will feature Chinese actors while fusing Western arias with Chinese folk music. Model Hu Dong and singer Zhang Mi will play the leading roles, while young stars Ji Jie and Tang Xiao also won big roles.
After more than half a year of auditions, the newly selected cast appeared at a press conference in Beijing last week.
Zhang Mi, who displayed impressive vocal prowess in her song Pandora's Music Box, will star as Hu Ji, an equivalent of Carmen. Hu Dong was hailed as one of 10 best models in the world in 1999 and has since released a few albums. He performs as young officer Zhao Shiji, the Chinese version of Don Hose.
Tang Xiao, winner of Super Girls - a vocal competition program modeled after American Idol - plays kind-hearted He Xiaomei. And Ji Jie, who excelled in Happy Boys, plays two roles: that of a greedy and powerful clan chief and of kungfu hero Huo Zifu.
None of the cast has any experience in musicals. Jin Xing, the famed choreographer who was announced to be part of the crew last year, didn't show up. Produced by Global Stage Entertainment & Production Co Ltd Hong Kong, the musical will premiere at the redecorated Century Theater of Beijing on May 15. After touring Chinese cities, the musical will go abroad in 2009.
(China Daily February 25, 2008)