June 25, 1998 |
Chinese officials on Wednesday blocked a Shanghai opera troupe from traveling to the U.S. to perform a 22-hour Chinese opera billed as the centerpiece of this year's Lincoln Center summer festival. Lincoln Center officials had hoped the Chinese would relent and allow the "The Peony Pavilion" to come here in time to be performed as scheduled at Lincoln Center Festival 98.
March 19, 2006 |
Stephin Merritt "Showtunes" (Nonesuch) * * * 1/2 TO summarize: Hans Christian Andersen was a 13th century Chinese emperor who was resurrected in a Ming Dynasty opera 400 years later. No, wait. That's not it. But it's easy to lose track on this album of songs from three stage productions all jumbled together. And why not?
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.
September 5, 2004 |
Back in 1952, Frank Loesser's score for the Hollywood musical "Hans Christian Andersen" captivated listeners with such songs as "Wonderful Copenhagen" and "Thumbelina." Before long, two new stage musicals based on the life of the Danish fairy-tale writer could spawn a new batch of hits. Both are keyed to a bicentenary bash of global proportions that Denmark is throwing next year to honor its native son on his 200th birthday.
April 19, 2004 |
When will we be able to look at "exotic" performance and see intellectual content, rather than merely admiring the outer form? When will we understand that artists from "other" cultures are capable of creating meaningful as well as beautiful works? Until we do so, we infantilize Asian, African and other "non-Western" arts, denying them their rightful position in the adult world.
September 20, 2006 |
Four hundred years ago, the poet Tang Xianzu wrote the Chinese version of "Romeo and Juliet" -- except that for his Juliet, the power of love manages to overcome social censure, as well as death itself. Tang's epic opera, "The Peony Pavilion," is one of the most celebrated in Chinese drama, and the 19-hour, 55-scene work has been a lifelong fascination of Kenneth Pai, a noted Chinese American writer, retired University of California professor and, now, theater impresario.