From dance we turn to Peking opera. This artform is known for its paucity of props, traditionally just a table and two chairs. So what happens when you turn it into a multi-media experience? We look now at a new production that’s helping to bring Peking Opera one step closer to a modern day audience.
Scenes of the late master Mei Lanfang singing in his courtyard appear on the huge LED screen. The show is both a tribute to the star of a bygone era, but also a revamp of a classic.
"Legend of Taizhen" tells the tragic love story between Tang dynasty emperor Li Longji and his concubine Yang Yuhuan.
"The visual effect was great. Many modern elements were integrated into it. Plus, the seasoned performers did very well." Audience member said.
Multi-media is widely used in other types of stage shows, but rarely in Peking Opera.
The production took the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts three years to make. And by hiring Mei Lanfang’s son, Mei Baojiu, as the artistic director, the essence of the original classic has been respected.
"It’s an adaptation of a classic for the digital era, but its singing and postures strictly follow the tradition. In this aspect, they’ve kept the essence of the Mei style intact." Wu Ying, Deputy Director of Mei Lanfang Art Research Assoc., said.
A creative fusion of old and new, the show has been hailed as a revolution in the field of Peking Opera since it debuted at Beijing’s Meilanfang Theater in May.