Met Museum Presents Live Webcast of Updated PEONY PAVILION Opera Tonight
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by BWW News Desk
Tonight, November 30, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will offer a live webcast of the first of five performances of an updated version of the 16th-century Chinese Kunqu opera masterpiece Peony Pavilion that will take place in the Met's Astor Court, the courtyard modeled on a 17th-century Chinese garden. This 70-minute version of the opera has been developed and directed by celebrated composer Tan Dun, with a new score by Mr. Tan and choreography by Huang Doudou, one of China's most prominent dancers. It will be performed by Zhang Jun, one of China's most respected Kunqu performers, and the Shanghai Zhang Jun Art Center Company.
Tickets are sold out for the five performances of the opera in The Astor Court (tonight, November 30 at 7:00 p.m.; December 1 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.; and December 2 at noon and 3:00 p.m.), but tickets are still available for a live, high-definition transmission of the first of the performances, on Friday, November 30, in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. Following the transmission, the company will make a brief onstage presentation in the auditorium.
The webcast of tonight's, November 30, performance at 7:00 p.m. (not including the post-event presentation) will be live-streamed on the Met's website, www.metmuseum.org; see the event page for more information. The event will also be archived for later viewing.
Peony Pavilion is co-produced by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the US-China Cultural Institute.
Peony Pavilion is one of the most important works of classical Chinese opera. A sweeping love story with subplots involving feudalism, the work in its original form consisted of fifty-five acts that take more than twenty hours to perform. This version, directed by Zhang Jun, remains faithful to the core plot focusing on the love story between the heroine and hero-Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei-and the Peony Pavilion where their love began.
Tan Dun's new score, which recalls the style and themes of traditional Kunqu music, will be performed by a traditional Kunqu ensemble of four musicians, and will include taped elements.
The conceptual and multifaceted composer/conductor Tan Dun has made an indelible mark on the world's music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical, multimedia, Eastern and Western musical systems. Central to his body of work, Tan Dun has composed distinct series of works which reflect his individual compositional concepts and personal ideas-among them a series which brings his childhood memories of shamanistic ritual into symphonic performances; works which incorporate elements from the natural world; and multimedia concerti. Opera has a significant role in Tan Dun's creative output of the past decade, mostly recently with the premiere of The First Emperor by the Metropolitan Opera in December 2006 with a title role created for Plácido Domingo. In 2008, Tan composed Internet Symphony No. 1: "Eroica" commissioned by Google/YouTube as the focal point for the world's first collaborative online orchestra. Recent works include Piano Concerto: The Fire for Lang Lang and the New York Philharmonic; Violin Concerto: The Love, for soloist Cho-Liang Lin, and Earth Concerto for Ceramic Percussion and Orchestra. Of his many works for film, Tan Dun's score for Ang Lee's film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon received an Academy Award for best original score. For more information, go to www.tandunonline.com.
Huang Dou Dou, the artistic director of the Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble, made his choreographic debut in 1998 with a work titled Spirit of Martial Arts, and in 2001 he choreographed Chinese Go-based on the ancient chess game-for the Vail International Dance Festival. In the past years, Huang has worked closely with composer Tan Dun in experimental works and installation art. Dubbed the "the Baryshnikov of China," Huang's solo dance performance was broadcast worldwide during the closing ceremony of the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Zhang Jun is a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Born in Shanghai in 1974, Zhang started learning Kunqu at the age of 12. Since 1994, he has been one of China's most acclaimed Kunqu actors, performing many leading roles in famous Kunqu plays such as Peony Pavilion, The Palace of Eternal Youth and The Jade Hairpin. Zhang has won the "Meihua (Plum Flower) Award," China's top performing award, as well as many acting prizes and honorable titles, including one of the "Shanghai Ten Outstanding Young Persons" in 2004, "China National Young Cultural Elites" in 2006, and one of China's Best Ten Kunqu Opera Performers in 2007. Zhang has also played the leading role in Tan Dun's opera Marco Polo, which was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award.
For tickets, visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets or call 212-570-3949. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Tuesday-Saturday 10-4:30 and Sunday noon-5:00. Tickets include admission to the Museum on day of performance.