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Chinese classic going strong as opera

By Andrew Moody | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-24 07:21

Chinese classic going strong as opera

Wray Armstrong (below) is the man behind the recent successful staging in China of Dream of the Red Chamber, a San Francisco Opera production based on the classic Chinese novel by the same name.[Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily] 

After successful staging in China of Dream of the Red Chamber, Canadian impresario plans to take it on a major tour of Europe. Andrew Moody reports.

As a Canadian classical music impresario, Wray Armstrong might cut an unlikely figure in the projection of China's soft power.

The 67-year-old, however, was the man behind the recent hugely successful staging in China of Dream of the Red Chamber, based on the classic Chinese novel.

And he plans to take it on a major tour of Europe in the summer of 2019.

He believes it is the sort of project that fits into the message about the importance of promoting Chinese culture sent out by President Xi Jinping in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.

"President Xi has been very strong about culture and soft power, and following on from the congress we are looking at taking it to Europe," he says.

Armstrong, an imposingly tall figure, was sitting behind an enormous desk in his new office at the North Pingod Arts Community in Beijing.

The table is made out of a 100-year-old Chinese country house door, which is now encased in toughened glass.

"I had it made by a carpenter in the Gaobeidian district of Beijing where we get a lot of our props for historical dramas. They had to put it together in my office. It is a bit of an artistic statement," he laughs.

Armstrong is chairman of Armstrong Music and Arts, which he founded in the Chinese capital in 2009.

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