'Dream of the Red Chamber' by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang
1st September 2016
Sheng's fifth opera is based on the epic 17th-century masterpiece of Chinese fiction by Cao Xueqin. Considered as a pinnacle of Chinese literature and in its tale of the Jia Clan, it is viewed as a symbolic telling of the decline of the Qing Dynasty.
Central to the opera is a love triangle between a young nobleman and two very different women: one his spiritual soulmate, the other a beautiful heiress. Their story is set within the rise and fall of the members of the Jia Clan, whose good fortune, assured when one of its daughters becomes an imperial concubine, slowly deteriorates following her death. With an English-language libretto, Sheng and Hwang frame the oft-considered semi-autobiographical tale with a Prologue and Epilogue led by the character of The Monk, who may be the author himself.
This world premiere production is staged by renowned playwright and director Stan Lai and designed by Academy Award-winner Tim Yip. George Manahan conducts. This world premiere production is co-produced with the Hong Kong Arts Festival which presents the Asian premiere in March 2017 as its festival finale.
The all-Asian cast of 3 Sopranos, 3 Mezzos, Alto, Tenor, Male Actor, and Female Chorus will be accompanied by an orchestra of winds in pairs, 4331 brass, harp, strings, and the Qin, a Chinese plucked string instrument.
More about Dream of the Red Chamber
Listen to the Audio Gallery
Watch the Design Team Interview
Peruse the Slide Show
Plan for Panels, Previews, Exhibits
Read the preview in The New York Times
Read the review in The Mercury News