Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 13 News List

OPERA: Pukka Puccini

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) has gone from filmmaker of sober social dramas to China’s cultural ambassador and event manager. His recent state-commissioned works were grand and opulent. Think of the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and the fireworks display and colossal parade that marked 60 years of Communist rule in the country.

Then there is his Turandot. First staged at the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing last year, Zhang’s updated version of Giacomo Puccini’s opera about a conceited and ruthless princess is being staged at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium (台中洲際棒球場) tomorrow and Sunday, the first leg of a world tour.

Zhang’s Turandot is an operatic spectacle on a massive scale. Employing a palette of red and gold, and with the cast clad in Ming Dynasty-style costumes, the two performances take place on what is touted as the largest outdoor stage the country has ever seen.

The imposing construction is 22m-by-90m and took a team of Chinese and Taiwanese technicians 20 days to build. Thirty-two state-of-the-art projectors will screen scenes onto a giant backdrop.

The cost of moving the production from Beijing to Taichung totaled NT$180 million, according to the event’s organizer, Bros Sports Marketing (悍創).

The baseball stadium was chosen because other venues are unable to accommodate such a large a performance, Bros Sports Marketing said.

Both executive director Chen Weiya (陳維亞) and Liu Zhenming (劉振明), the Chinese production team’s general manager, said that the production’s lighting and sound and visual effects work better at the fan-shaped, 20,000-seat field than at the vast Bird’s Nest Stadium.

PERFORMANCE NOTES

What: Turandot

When: Tomorrow and Sunday at 7pm

Where: Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium (台中洲際棒球場), 835, Chongde Rd Sec 3, Taichung City (台中市崇德路三段835號)

Getting there: Free shuttle buses are being organized for high-speed rail, bus and TRA passengers. For more information, go to www.turandot.tw/info-3.html

Admission: NT$1,200 to NT$12,000, available through ERA ticketing or online at www.ticket.com.tw

On the Net: www.turandot.tw


Though all the leading roles are performed by Chinese artists, Taiwanese performers and musicians also play a visible part in the shows, including members of the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (長榮交響樂團) and National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (國立台灣交響樂團), as well as 250 young performers from the sports and dance department at the National Taiwan University of Physical Education (國立台灣體育大學) in Taichung.

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