Peony Pavillion

The Opera


Adapted from a classic script by the renowned Taiwanese writer Kenneth Pai, the critically acclaimed "Young Lovers' Edition" of the Kun opera Peony Pavilion (Mudanting) will be performed at UCLA over three consecutive evenings September 29th, 30th and October 1, 2006 as well as several other University of California campuses during the fall of 2006.

From the mists of the Ming Dynasty comes a tale of love, beauty, and marriage so profound that it still resonates with modern audiences more than four hundred years later. The Peony Pavilion is considered one of the world's greatest artistic accomplishments and the supreme achievement of Chinese Kunqu opera—an art form refined over centuries and combining literature, music, dance, and drama with extraordinary purity and precision.

While recent productions have struggled with greater and lesser degrees of success with the work's massive structure (originally 403 arias, 55 acts, over 20 hours of performance), no one has succeeded more brilliantly than the esteemed Taiwanese author, literary scholar, and producer Kenneth Pai (Pai Hsien-yung), Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Barbara. To bring his interpretation of Tang Xianzu's epic love story (often compared to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) to life, Pai has broken with tradition and selected young, beautiful actors for the cast, introducing a greater sense of vigor and eroticism to the centuries-old story. Here, an extraordinary cast of performers—the brightest talents from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China, all trained by masters of Kunqu — reenacts the story of Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei - lovers caught forever in the bloom of eternal youth.