July 4, 1999 |
Seated behind a table during rehearsals in rural Massachusetts for "The Peony Pavilion," Chen Shizheng looks less like an opera director than a military commander. Facing his Chinese forces with complete attention, he wields control on many fronts, not just the usual view through the proscenium but also the sides of the stage, which are fully exposed to audience view.
November 9, 1998 |
At Shanghai's new opera house, where the acoustics are as crystalline as the vaulting glass walls, the symbolism of the Grand Theater's opening also rings loud and clear. The $150-million glass culture palace designed by French architect Jean-Marie Charpentier to host international performers such as tenor Jose Carreras and operas such as "Aida" and "Faust," is meant to be a declaration about the state of the arts in Shanghai.
November 9, 1998 |
Bringing international productions to Shanghai's new Grand Theater is an art in itself. As the government backs away from its old role as organizer, promoter and gatekeeper, arranging this season's best acts seems to be a one-man show. That man is Bonko Chan, the vice president of the largest state-owned air-cargo company in China, who produces operas in his spare time. "I was sitting with a friend," he said, perched atilt in a broken office chair, "and we were a little bit bored.
August 23, 1998 |
Imperious and awesome she may be, but Turandot, the Chinese princess of Puccini's last--and some say greatest--opera, is hardly role-model material. Like all the ancient Furies rolled into one, Turandot is a dark force of nature, driven by an unseemly thirst for vengeance. Her sport is putting three impossible riddles to those hapless men who dare seek her hand in marriage--and lopping off their heads when they inevitably fail.
June 14, 1998 |
China claims the only continuing civilization originating in the ancient world. One critical reason for the longevity: the development a thousand years ago of an extremely literate--even hyperliterate--ruling class, with deep knowledge of (and passionate affection for) painting, history, poetry and prose. An administrative government like that is a long way from what you'd find these days in our neck of the woods.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 16, 1998 |
A photo exhibit of recent American history by a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and a collection of paintings and embroidered tapestries depicting the crafts of Southwest China, will be on display at Cal State Northridge beginning today. The new exhibits, titled "Photo Op" and "Art and Craft of Southwest China," will be on public display through April 18 in the Art Dome, located on the south side of the CSUN campus.