The National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year — and to commemorate the occasion, it has rolled out its most extensive program for the annual Taiwan International Festival of Arts (TIFA), which will also mark the reopening of the National Theater after an eight-month renovation.
To reflect the eternity of the stage, the festival’s theme is “Everlasting,” and it is fitting the music, theater and dance performances include several classics. Performers include both local and foreign companies that have proven to be hits with Taipei audiences, as well as a few new troupes and creations produced under the aegis of the NTCH Artists in Residence program.
The festivities begin on March 3 at the National Concert Hall, with a restaging of Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (大兵的故事) by the Taipei Soloist Ensemble (台北獨奏家室內樂團), accompanied by several guest artists.
The ensemble first performed the piece in 1994 and then again in nine years later as the finale of the 2003 NTCH Soloists Series. This year’s program will also include the two pieces of chamber music: Lai De-he’s (賴德和) Woodwind Quintet and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat major, Op.16.
The Soldier’s Tale is the first of 10 musical performances, nine theater productions — including both Western drama and Taiwanese opera — and six dance productions that make up this year’s festival. Several shows are already sold out or close to it.
Only NT$500 tickets for the first three nights are left for choreographer Lin Lee-chen’s (林麗珍) first new work in years for her iconic Legend Lin Dance Theatre (無垢舞蹈劇場), The Eternal Tides (潮), which opens in the National Theater on March 9.
Coming back in May for a third visit to the National Theatre are Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her company Rosas, with two shows of a double bill: her very first work, Fase and Vortex Temporum. The only seats left are for May 11.
Five productions at the Experimental Theater are sold out. Two are dance pieces — Su Wei-chia (蘇威嘉) and Horse’s (驫舞劇場) Free Steps and Maguy Marin’s solo production Singspiele, performed by David Mambouch — and three are theater — Chien Li-cheng’s (簡莉穎) production for 4 Chairs Theater (四把椅子劇團), The Possible Memoirs of a Traitor (叛徒馬密可能的回憶錄); the Canadian troupe Mind of Snail’s Caws & Effect and 1/2 Q Theatre’s (二分之一Q劇場) Dust of Time (流光似夢).
NTCH has reinvited the Brussels-based Needcompany, last seen in Taipei in 2013, which will present a unique version of The Time Between Two Mistakes from April 14 to April 16 that includes 12 Taiwanese dancers chosen by director Jan Lauwers for a masterclass and to perform with the company in the National Theater.
The following week, the theater will be home to a Spanish flamenco troupe, the Rocio Molina Company, which will perform Bosque Ardora from April 21 to April 23.
Also in the National Theater will be Schauspielhaus Zurich with Whose Afraid of Hugo Wolf? on March 17 and March 18, the Ming Hwa Yuan Arts & Cultural Group (明華園戲劇總團) with The Dragon Rises (龍抬頭) from March 24 to March 26, Lithuanian director Oskaras Korsunovas’ production of Hamlet with OKT/Vilnius City Theatre from March 31 to April 2 and British director Katie Mitchell’s version of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie for the Schaubuhne Berlin from April 28 to April 30.