Sellars Directs Premiere of Peony PavilionDate: 3 June 1998
Peter Sellars will direct the British premiere of the classic 16th century Chinese epic, musical drama Peony Pavilion, which will open at the Barbican Theatre on Thursday 10 September for nine performances only. This 400th anniversary production of Tang Xianxu's Kun opera will include specially written music by New York based Chinese composer Tan Dun, who wrote the 'Heaven Earth Mankind' Symphony commissioned for the Hong Kong handover in 1997.
Written in 1598, Peony Pavilion, the story of a young girl who meets her student lover in a dream world, is the best and most famous example of Chinese Kun opera, a mixture of theatre and opera. This classical Chinese theatre combines tragedy, romance, political commentary, magic and comedy; it is performed by actors trained in operatic singing, poetry recitation, balletic and ceremonial dancing and martial arts.
Peony Pavilion will feature a multi-faceted cast led by leading Kun opera exponent Madame Hua Wenyi and international soprano Ying Huang. Performances will be in Chinese and English and will feature video, digital samplers and synthesizers, traditional Chinese pipa and percussion.
Peony Pavilion will be translated by Cyril Birch and designed by George Tsypin with costumes by Dunya Ramicova and lighting by James F. Ingalls.
This production of Peony Pavilion is part of the Barbican's international theatre season, BITE:98.