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October 18, 2011

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Home » Feature » Art and Culture

From Picasso to Peking Opera

A month-long international arts festival will feature original Chinese dance, opera and acrobatics as well as a concert by violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and an exhibition of 62 original Picasso works.

The curtain goes up tonight on the 13th Shanghai International Arts Festival, which runs through November 18. Around 50 performances will be staged, including 21 original Chinese works.

The festival opens with an original dance drama, "The Goddess and the Dreamer" by the Zhengzhou Song and Dance Theater. It tells the tory of Cao Zhi and Cao Pi, princes of the Kingdom Wei of during the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280). It features traditional Chinese dance styles.

The festival features other original Chinese dance, opera and stage plays, as well as traditional Chinese opera.

Original works include the opera "Red River Valley" by the China Opera and Dance Drama Theater; the stage play "A Charming Face among Peach Blossoms" by the Shanghai Drama Arts Center; a new Peking Opera "Peking Opera Actor Becomes Major General" and the Peking Opera and musical drama "Meng Xiaodong" by the Kuokuang Peking Opera Theater from Taiwan.

Two original Chinese works will have their world premieres - "The Nutcracker and the Dream on the Sea" and the original musical "The Broken Bridge."

"The Broken Bridge" is a retelling of the "Madame White Snake" legend in which a benevolent snake sorceress falls in love with a mortal man. "The Nutcracker" is a very different retelling of the famous "Nutcracker" story.

Tchaikovsky's music and some ballet elements are retained, but the new work has a different storyline and includes magic, acrobatics and exotic sets. Director Liu Jun was the choreographer for the acrobatic version of "Swan Lake."

In the Chinese version, a nutcracker helps a talented ballet dancer Mary regain her confidence and thus succeed in her career and find love.

"Pursuing dreams is a universal story understood by people all over the world; anyone can be Mary," says the show's creative producer Ric Birch, who produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

Most of "The Nutcracker" performers are professional ballet dancers from Beijing and Shanghai and professionals from the Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe.

The international performance program includes the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bejart Ballet Lausanne and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and violinist Perlman.

Sixty-two originals by Picasso will be exhibited. Other exhibitions include sculpture and fresco highlights from the Mogao Grottes in Dunhuang, Gansu Province, and contemporary Chinese calligraphy and ink-wash painting.

For program details, check official website


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