China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) returns to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center this winter with Confucius, a new dance drama performed by the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater. The production will make its American debut January 5 – 8 at The David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, followed by a January 13 – 15 engagement at The Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. The production is directed and choreographed by Ms. Kong Dexin, a 77th-generation direct descendent of Confucius. For tickets and more information, visit http://davidhkochtheater
.com/Season-Tickets/16-17- Season/Confucius and https:// www.kennedy-center.org/ calendar/event/RRXAG.
Confucius is a part of CAEG’s Image China cultural exchange initiative, which seeks to introduce traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to audiences around the world. Since its inception in 2009, Image China has presented works at performance venues across the globe, including Lincoln Center in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and stages throughout Europe and Australia. Recent productions include Dragon Boat Racing, The Legend of Mulan, and the acclaimed American debut of the Peking Opera star Zhang Huoding.
With traditional Chinese music, opulent costumes, and expressive choreography, Confucius tells the story of the legendary scholar’s journey through the kingdoms of Zhou Dynasty China, and his quest to instill codes of ethics, honor, and benevolence among the empire’s rulers. Told in six sections, “Inquiry,” “The Chaotic Time,” “Out of Food,” “Great Harmony,” “Mourning for Benevolence,” and “Happiness,” the dance drama’s structure reflects the inner and outer struggles of Confucius in expressionistic passages of dance and song, through one of the most turbulent and significant periods in China’s history.
Confucius had its world premiere in 2013 at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, and has since played throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia. Critics have described the production as “a cultural calling card for China” (The New York Times), “incredibly beautiful… brought to life by some of the most exquisitely talented dancers… a wonder to behold” (Arts on the AU), and “Impressive… stunning stage design, talented young dancers, and brightly-colored, flowing costumes” (Beijing Review).
Said Zhang Yu, President of CAEG, “Confucius is one of the most enduring and influential figures in the long history of Chinese culture. We hope that this dance drama, performed with artistry and grace by the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater, will engage the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere and bring the story of Confucius to life in unexpected and exhilarating ways.”
The cast of Confucius includes Hu Yang (“Confucius”), Tang Shiyi (“Concubine”), and an ensemble of 55 performers. Confucius is directed and choreographed by Kong Dexin, who is herself a 77th-generation descendent of Confucius. Confucius is written by Liu Chun, with music direction by Zhang Qu, scenic and lighting design by Ren Dongsheng, costume design by Yang Donglin, and makeup design by Jia Lei.
LISTINGS INFORMATION: Confucius plays a limited run at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center (20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY) January 5 – 8. The performance schedule is January 5, 6, and 7 at 8:00PM and January 8 at 1:00PM. Ticket prices range from $22 to $167 (plus a $3.50 facility fee) and can be purchased online at http://davidhkochtheater.co
m/Season-Tickets/16-17-Season/ Confucius. Confucius then plays a limited run at the Kennedy Center Opera House (2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC) January 13 – 15. The performance schedule is January 13 and 14 at 7:30PM and January 15 at 1:30PM. Ticket prices range from $30 to $150 and can be purchased online at https://www.kennedy-center. org/calendar/event/RRXAG.
CONFUCIUS (551 – 479 BC) was one of China’s most influential philosophers, whose teachings still resonate throughout the nation and around the globe. A politician and teacher during a time of moral and political upheaval in China, Confucius sought to reinstate codes of ethics, tradition, self-discipline, and honor to society. Although at the time of his death Confucius believed his teachings to have failed, his legacy, embodied in the tenets of Confucianism, has become one of the defining foundations of Chinese culture.
THE NATIONAL OPERA & DANCE DRAMA THEATER, an affiliate of the Ministry of Culture of People’s Republic of China, is the nation’s largest and oldest state-level theater. Established in 1950, the theater includes an opera troupe, dance drama troupe, folk music troupe, symphony orchestra, creation studio and stage design department. Over half a century, the theater has performed more than one hundred operas and dance dramas, among which White Haired Girl, Peasant Takes a Wife, Lotus Lantern, Dream of Red Mansions, Wilderness,and Shado
w of Fencing Walls have become regarded as seminal works of art in the history of Chinese opera and performing arts. Chinese national leaders such as Mr. Mao Zedong, Mr. Zhou Enlai, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, Mr. Hu Jintao, and Mr. Xi Jinping, as well as heads of many foreign countries, have attended and praised the theater’s productions.
The theater adheres to the concept of inheritance and innovation. In recent years, the theater has produced a series of new masterpieces, such as Red River Valley (Opera), Synopsis of Opera Xing Hai (Opera), Synopsis of Opera Horn (Opera), Confucius (Dance Drama), When We were Young (Dance Drama), Chinese Orphan (Dance Drama), Charm of the Seasons, and Synopsis of Ethnic Concert National Treasures. The theater has been invited to many countries in Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania to conduct performances. With its classical stage performances, masterful arts, and first-class artists, the theater has won wide recognition both domestically and worldwide.
THE CHINA ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (CAEG) is the first large state-owned cultural enterprise in China. It was founded in 2004 based on the merger of the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA) and the China International Exhibition Agency (CIEA). With a history of more than 50 years, CPAA and CIEA have gained international acclaim by undertaking thousands of governmental cultural exchange projects and commercial stage performances and arts exhibitions both at home and abroad. Such productions as the opera Turandot on its original site in the Forbidden City of Beijing, Shaolin Warriors, ERA-Intersection with Time, and the Chinese language version of classic musicals Mamma Mia and Cats, win great success in market benefits as well as brand establishment. Serving as a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and other countries, CAEG has established and maintained a wide and solid cooperation with world-renowned cultural institutions, galleries, museums as well as famed cultural companies, performing arts troupes and individual artists. Each year, thousands of shows, exhibitions and other cultural activities are presented in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries and regions attracting audiences of over 10 million annually.
Photo Credit: Liu Haidong