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Theatrical spectacle reveals Dunhuang's cultural heritage

By Chen Nan | | Updated: 2024-04-26 15:25
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Director Tian Qinxin, also the president of the National Theater of China, in Beijing on April 23.[Photo provided to]

The National Theater of China revealed its latest opus, Shoudao Zhaohuan Dunhuang (literally translated as "calling from Dunhuang"), promising a captivating fusion of drama and music. The premiere is scheduled to grace the stage of the National Aquatics Center in Beijing from Nov 21 to 27, followed by a subsequent staging in Shanghai.

Creative members of the new production, Shoudao Zhaohuan Dunhuang, in Beijing on April 23.[Photo provided to]

This ambitious new production boasts a stellar lineup of artists, including director Tian Qinxin, scriptwriter Jiang Wenliang, and songwriter Peter Kam. Notably, the production features the multifaceted singer-actor Zhang Yixing in the leading role of Chang Shuhong (1904-94), a celebrated painter who, after returning from Paris, played a pivotal role as a founding director of the Dunhuang Academy — an institution dedicated to the preservation and research of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mogao Caves in Northwest China's Gansu province. Chang's unwavering dedication to the preservation of Dunhuang arts has earned him the revered title of the "guardian of Dunhuang".

Director Tian Qinxin and singer-actor Zhang Yixing (second from right) in Beijing on April 23.[Photo provided to]

Tian, the president of the National Theater of China, said: "The theatrical production will serve as a bridge between the venerable generation of Dunhuang custodians and the younger populace. It promises to be a spiritual odyssey for the audience."

She further revealed plans to adapt the production into a movie, leveraging cutting-edge digital technology, with the aim of broadening access for a wider audience to learn and appreciate the artistry of Dunhuang mural paintings.

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