Friday, December 17, 2010

The Peony Pavilion - Kunqu production by Chen Shi Zheng

It is perhaps fitting that this blog's inaugural post is dedicated to its namesake, The Peony Pavilion by Ming Dynasty playwrite Tang Xianzu.  This classic story has been reinterpreted countless times in various opera styles for centuries. In 1999, New York's Lincoln Center Festival in partnership with the Festival d'Automne in Paris supported the enormous undertaking of staging all 19 hours of the Kunqu (Kun) version of The Peony Pavilion (Kunqu being one of the earliest known forms of Chinese Opera with origins dating back to the Yuan Dynasty).  The fruits of this great effort resulted, back in the days of VHS, with a two tape set including a documentary on how the production came about, its approach and staging, and included interviews with Chen Shi-Zheng, music director  Zhou Ming, and leading performers Qian Yi (Beautiful Du) and Wen Yu Hang (Liu Mengmei). The film can be quite difficult and expensive to obtain.  Fortunately, the documentary about the production is now available for viewing on Classic T.V. free of charge : HERE

The performance can be viewed in its entirety  with English subtitles on the same site (also free of charge):
 PART 1: The Interrupted Dream

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