Peking Opera: Red Cliff

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Venue: Opera House
Dates: Daily from July 18, 19, 21-26, 2009
Price: VIP/600/400/200/120/80 yuan (19:30, July 18-19 & July 21-267)
           VIP/580/380/180/120/80 yuan (14:00, July 19 & 25)
Video: See clips here

Programme Introduction

Production: National Centre for the Performing Arts
Presenter: National Centre for the Performig Arts & Peking Opera House of Beijing, etc.
Playwright: Cai Fuchao
Chief Director: Zhang Jigang
Composer: Zhu Shaoyu
Stage Designer / Director: Gao Guangjian
Director: Shi Hongtu

The real cause for the war of Red Cliff is a mystery. Why did Cao Cao start the war? Who made the ultimate decision about fight or surrender? The truth lies beyongd anybody's imagination. Was Zhou Yu really so narrow-minded? Was Xiao Qiao, the appealing beauty, merely a decoration? The answer is negative. National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) will offer a brand new epic and perfect rendering of these enigmas that confused people for such a long time.

The Peking opera Red Cliff will be launched from December 22 to December 29, 2008. Original and heroic, the large-scale opera is produced by NCPA and coauthored by NCPA and Peking Opera House of Beijing. At the same time, as the closing event, this opera will serve as a magnificent conclusion of the Sixth Beijing International Theater & Dance Festival, in which the essence of Chinese culture will be embodied by the different roles of Peking opera.

This grand Peking opera will bring the historic war to life where the Three Kingdoms were fighting for predominance. From a completely different perspective, the opera gives a faithful and flawless representation of the wartime, leaving a fresh, thought-provoking and lingering impression for the audience.

It is written by Cai Fuchao and directed by Zhang Jigang, deputy chief director of Beijing Olympic Games Opening/Closing Ceremony and executive chief director of Beijing Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. The Peking opera cast, consisting of first-class actors from Peking Opera House of Beijing and other famous figures, is a sure bet for its success. This is the first time that Zhang Jigang, the author of dancing pieces The Thousand-hand Bodhisattva and A Handful of Acid Dates, directs Peking opera. The combination of inviting dancing and intriguing theater will provide a new splendor on stage.

One of the highlights of this opera is the luxurious cast. Red Cliff will be launched in two versions, one of which is "classic version" performed by prestigious artists like Yu Kuizhi, Meng Guanglu Li Hongtu and Li Shengsu; the other is "youth version" performed by popular young actors. Two generations of artists will bring same artistic fulfillment to the audience on the same stage.

Different from traditional stage layout of "one table and two desks", director Zhang Jigang, art designer Gao Guangjian, costume designer Song Li, and vocal designer Zhu Shaoyu are all sophisticated at stage design. They inherited traditional spirit and made bold attempts with regard to stage art, costume and singing. All the details of the romantic and masculine heroes, twists and turns in battles, courageous or tender feelings when making decisions are displayed from the sublime stage design, flamboyant costumes and brilliant singing. Zhang Jigang revealed that he hoped the first Chinese opera he directed would produce distinguished visual enjoyment and artistic effect for Peking opera lovers.

It is said in The Art of War by Sunzi, "The best way of winning is made by strategy, the second by diplomacy, the third by war." Although the opera tells stories of the war, it conveys longing for and pursuit of peace as well as deep rethinking about the war.

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