PEKING OPERA SUPER STAR ZHANG HUODING
09.02.15 - 09.03.14
Following the four remarkable dance dramas including The Peony Pavilion (Jan 5-8, 2012), Silk Road (Feb 27- Mar 3, 2013),The Red Dress (Mar 6-9, 2014) and The Legend of Mulan (Mar 5-8,2015) at the David H. Koch Theater (Lincoln Center), China Arts and Entertainment Group returns with twospectacular Peking Opera productions Legend of the White Snake and The Jewelry Pursestarring the acclaimed artist Zhang Huoding and performed by the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. Zhang Huoding will make her debut in US from September2-3, 2015.
Peking opera is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics. The roles on the Peking Opera stage fall into four categories: Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou. The Dan refers to any female role in Peking Opera. In the history of Peking Opera, there are four remarkable Dan masters: Mei Lanfang, Cheng Yanqiu, Shang Xiaoyun, and Xun Huisheng.
Cheng Yanqiu is the founder of Cheng School of Peking Opera, in which tones are low-pitched, deep, subtle and sometimes reminiscent of whimpering. Professor Zhao Rongchen is a proud descendent of Master Cheng Yanqiu, while Zhang Huoding is the last disciple of Professor Zhao Rongchen. Zhang Huoding inherits and develops the performing arts of Cheng School of Peking Opera in a creative way. she is not only skilled in the classics of Cheng School including The Jewelry Purse and Reunion in the Dream, meanwhile she initiated and created many new productions with graceful bearing of Cheng School like Legend of the White Snakeand The Butterfly Lovers.
Legend of the White Snake is adapted from a traditional Chinese story and Zhang Huoding is the first Cheng School artist to perform this classic Peking Opera production. The Jewelry Purse is master work that assembles the artistic features of Cheng School.
Synopsis of Legend of the White Snake
This story has been a well-known legend for thousands of years. Once upon a time two snake fairies live in Mount E-mei, called Bai Shuzhen and Xiao Qing, turns themselves into a master and a maid. They come to Southern Yangtze area for a tour, and then encounter Xu Xian around West Lake. Bai falls in love with Xu at first sight, and get married soon. Their happy life is interrupted by a monk named Fahai who reveals to Xu that Bai is a thousand-year-old white snake. Suspiciously Xu persuades his wife to drink some wine on the day of Chinese traditional Dragon Boat Festival. The wine changes Bai into her snake form, terrifying Xu so severely that he falls dead. Bai obtains a magical herb that restores her husband to life. Fahai then tricks Xu into imprisonment in the Gold Hill Temple. For the sake of rescuing her husband, Bai uses her magical power to flood the temple, but fails because of her pregnancy. Xu escape from the temple and meets Bai on a bridge. Bai tells her husband the truth about her origin, and Xu kindly accepts her. After giving birth to their son, Bai is imprisoned for eternity in Leifeng Pagoda.
Synopsis of The Jewelry Purse
Xue Xiangling, daughter of a rich family in Deng Zhou, was caught in the rain in her sedan chair on her way to getting married and sheltered herself from the rain inside the Spring-Autumn Pavilion. Hearing the sound of crying from another sedan chair in the same pavilion, Xue asked her housekeeper to find out what's going on and learnt that Zhao Shouzhen, who was also on her way to her wedding, felt sad because her family was too poor to provide a dowry. Xue gave her jewelry purse embroidered by her mother to the poor bride without leaving her name. Six years later, a flood batters Deng Zhou and Xue became separated from her family and found work as a maid in Lu's family. One day, when she accompanied Lu's childe to play she happened upon the very purse in the attic of Lu’s House and could not help crying. Fortunately, Madam Lu was Zhao Shouzhen, the poor bride the Xue helped six years ago. Zhao found out Xue was the generous person who gave her the valuable gift. She adopted Xue as her sworn sister and helped Xue to reunite with her family.
Zhang Huoding is now a professor of the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA), which was founded in 1950. NACTA is recognized as the cradle nurturing Chinese theatre talents. In recent years, NACTA’s reform and innovation have achieved good results. Since 2006, it has been honored at the national, provincial or ministerial level with more than 230 awards on academic research and arts creation. Such outstanding works as Legend of the White Snake, Les Miserables, The Red Detachment of Women, The Three Women Ghosts, and Long March Chorus have won many national and international awards including Nomination Prize of China National Fine Stage Arts Project, Prize of China National Excellent Repertoire, Music and Theatre Prize by the International Theatre Institute. Taking the responsibility of introducing Chinese theatre culture globally, NACTA has established good collaborative relationship with dozens of universities around the world.
The presenter China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) is the first large state-owned cultural enterprise in China. It was founded in 2004 based on the merger of the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA) and the China International Exhibition Agency (CIEA). With a history of more than 50 years, CPAA and CIEA have gained international acclaim by undertaking thousands of governmental cultural exchange projects and commercial stage performances and arts exhibitions both at home and abroad.Such productions as the opera Turandot on its original site in the Forbidden City of Beijing, Shaolin Warriors, ERA-Intersection with Time, and the Chinese language version of classic musicals Mamma Mia and Cats,win great success in market benefits as well as brand establishment. Serving as a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and other countries, CAEG has established and maintained a wide and solid cooperation with world-renowned cultural institutions, galleries, museums as well as famed cultural companies, performing arts troupes and individual artists. Each year, thousands of shows, exhibitions and other cultural activities are presented in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries and regions attracting audiences of over 10 million annually.
LEGEND OF THE WHITE SNAKE
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 @ 8PM
THE JEWELRY PURSE
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 @ 8PM
Tickets are $22, $37, $57, $77 and $107, with premium seats selling for $167. There is a $3 facility charge for all tickets.