2018 NCPA Opera Festival kicks off next week

The 2018 NCPA Opera Festival will kick off on April 13th and continue on for 105 days, during which four productions of the NCPA and one opera concert will be performed for audiences and opera lovers. Appearing on stage one after another will be: China National Opera House, Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre, Ningbo Song and Dance Theatre and China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre with newly produced and rehearsed masterpieces. Besides, audience will be shown the delightful charms of opera art by the NCPA’s well-planned events such as opera-themed education programmes, exhibitions, weekend concerts and opera films.

The NCPA Opera Festival, founded in 2009, will be held for a tenth time. This year’s theme, “Inheritance & Prospect” and among nine operas to be performed at 28 times are Chinese operas of the red theme, historic theme and realistic theme, and operatic masterpieces by maestros Wagner and Gounod.

To appear one after another, among others, will be the NCPA opera commission The Dawns Here Are Quiet, and Chinese epic opera The Long MarchThe Dawns Here Are Quiet, adapted from of a literary masterpiece of the Soviet Union by Chinese opera artists, not only offers a sharp contrast between the cruelty of war and beautiful youth, but also reflects China’s cultural and contemporary spirits with the authentic Russian style retained. Commissioned by the NCPA and premiered in 2016, the Chinese epic opera The Long March, in honour of the 80th anniversary of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army’s victory in the Long March, evokes the extreme hardships of the historical journey.

The China National Opera House opera Manas, Hubei Opera and Dance Drama Theatre King ZHUANG of Chu, and China National Opera & Dance Drama Theatre opera LIU Sanjie will appear on opera stage to act out magnificent history, glamorous and touching tales. Of the above operas, Manas unfolds around the core story in Manas, one of the three Chinese national epics, along with a subtle performance of operatic symphonies and Kyrgyz music with distinctive characteristics.

King Zhuang of Chu will take audiences back two thousand years to the Spring and Autumn Period of the ancient China, to show how the leading character bears responsibility and blame, hides his capacities and bides his time.

The China National Opera & Dance Drama Theatre opera LIU Sanjie will stage a story that has been eulogized by several generations. “Vocal genius” Third Sister LIU’s touching singing shows the grace and magnificence of the landscape in Guilin, as well as the mental outlook of Zhuang people.

The Ningbo Song and Dance Theatre opera TU Youyou presents a story about TU Youyou, a Traditional Chinese medicine scientist and Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine of 2015, showing how contemporary Chinese scientists persist in working for their ideals.

In addition to Chinese operas, the NCPA will produce Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden and Opera Australia. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is among Wagner’s greatest operatic works, and the only comic opera by Wagner. Meanwhile, the NCPA will also stage a concert version.
In honour of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gounod, an outstanding representative of French Romantic Opera, the NCPA will produce Gounod’s lyric opera Romeo and Juliet.

In the past ten years, the NCPA has successively produced “six plays of the red theme”—The Dawns Here Are QuietThe Long MarchJinsha RiverFANG Zhimin, The Red Guards on Honghu Lake and Visitors on the Snow Mountain, all of which have won society-wide acclaim, and tickets for each performance of theirs are quickly running out. The operas will appear on stage one after another this year.
A press conference launches by LÜ Jia, NCPA music director and Chinese opera artists

A variety of opera-related events are held every year. The NCPA’s educational project—“Weekend Concert” will be present two concerts, of which German and Austrian opera and operatic symphony highlights will be performed; three art lectures will be given at the “Classic Art Lecture”, involving Mozart’s opera art, national opera King Zhuang of Chu and Chinese epic opera The Long March; at “Enter the World of Record”, opera advisor to the NCPA Giuseppe Cuccia will be invited to introduce audiences several famous opera houses in Italy, show them the glamour of opera arias and share with them his opera knowledge.

Meanwhile, the NCPA will hold three opera exhibitions, at which audiences can learn about the production and development of opera at home and abroad.

In recent years, the NCPA have made a dozen of operas into opera films. From July to October, it will hold a four-month “2018 NCPA International Opera Film Festival” and plans to show more than ten excellent Chinese and foreign opera films nationwide. NCPA repertoire The Long March and L’elisir D’amore will be shown at the 2018 Beijing International Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival respectively.

The NCPA will also show opera films at campuses. 11 opera films including The Long March will enter universities in Beijing including Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University and Beijing Foreign Studies University, as well as other universities inside and outside Beijing, where well-known artists will tell students how to enjoy an opera film, so operas could be widely-popularized among young students.

Photo by XIAO Yi