San Francisco Opera’s Dream of the Red Chamber

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San Francisco Opera’s Dream of the Red Chamber is a story of cosmic creation, of marriage choice, and of family decline, both financial and moral. It is a meditation on the nature of reality and illusion, of the interconnectedness of the dream state and the waking world. Thus the Monk begins the opera with the greeting, “Welcome to my dream.” 

More at: https://sfopera.com/1617-season/201617-season/dream-of-the-red-chamber/

The Flower becomes Dai Yu, a brilliant, but sickly young woman 

The Stone become Bao Yu, Lady Wang’s spoiled son, the sole heir of the Jia Clan. 

Dao Chai – The beauty from the wealthy Xue Clan

At a discussion hosted by the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, Dream of the Red Chamber production designer Tim Yip shared how his designs were created in response to Bright Sheng’s poetic music. Also inspired by novelist Cao Xueqin’s talent as a kite master and author of books on kite artistry, Yip’s costumes are inspired by kites, people moving through space as broad fields of expressive color.

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“I do not use detailed designs on the fabric itself, as in real silk brocade,” Instead, my costume designs are more abstract, allowing you to sense the body within—or perhaps the aura of character’s spirit.” Characters are distinguished by different colors. For Dai Yu, green reflects her living quarters in the garden, surrounded by bamboo. The embossed gold patterns on Bao Chai’s robe remind you that she comes from a rich family.” 

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Dreamweavers: An all-star creative team transports an epic Chinese novel to the operatic stage. Writer Ken Smith interviews composer Bright Sheng, co-librettist David Henry Hwang, and director Stan Lai. https://sfopera.com/1617-season/201617-season/dream-of-the-red-chamber/dreamweavers/

Chinese versus European opera 

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Along with the European operatic tradition, the opera Dream of the Red Chamber is also inspired by other traditional theatrical versions of the story, such as those of Peking (or Beijing) opera, Kunqu, or Shaoxing opera, particularly in terms of choreography, costumes, and set design. 

How do these Chinese operatic genres compare with European opera? There is no easy answer, but production designer Tim Yip makes one important distinction, especially regarding sets. “Symbolism is a big part of Chinese traditional aesthetics. all you need are a few shapes and the audience can fill the rest of the scenery with their imagination,” says Yip. “Traditional Chinese opera contains formulas and guidelines in expressing emotions and actions; Western opera is based on creating quicker paced dramatic arcs. [For this production of Dream of the Red Chamber], rhythm is conveyed in the set and costumes, enhancing specific plot developments as emotions flare and then subside.”

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San Francisco Opera recently announced that Sheng & Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber will tour to the People’s Republic of China in September 2017, traveling to  three Chinese cities in six performances.

Delving Deeper into “Dream of the Red Chamber” by Stephen Roddy: http://sfopera.com/discover-opera/201617-season/dream-of-the-red-chamber/delvingdeeper/

Verdi’s AIDA – High School Night at San Francisco Opera

The final dress rehearsal of San Francisco Opera’s Aida on Wednesday, November 2 at 6:00pm is Madeleine H. Russell High School Night at the Opera, and attendees can anticipate an especially fun night with a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience of students arriving from all over California.

 San Francisco Opera presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida in a new production directed by Francesca Zambello and featuring designs by Los Angeles-based, contemporary visual artist RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis). A co-production with Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera and Minnesota Opera, this striking and bold vision for Verdi’s enduring classic will feature soprano Leah Crocetto and tenor Brian Jagde in their role debuts as the lovers at the heart of the opera, the enslaved princess Aida and the Egyptian war hero Radames. Mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk is Amneris, the daughter of the king who desires Radames’ love, baritone George Gagnidze portrays Aida’s vengeful father, Amonasro, and bass Raymond Aceto is Ramfis. The international cast and San Francisco Opera Orchestra will be conducted by Company Music Director Nicola LuisottiIan Robertson is Chorus Director.

Aida, one of Verdi’s most intimate dramas set within arguably his grandest spectacle, employs the sets of Michael Yeargan, costumes designed by Anita Yavich, lighting design by Mark McCullough and choreography of Jessica Lang.

To learn more about Aida and access San Francisco Opera’s education materials, visit:
http://sfopera.com/discover-opera/education-programs/for-schools/classroom-materials1/2016-17-classroom-materials/aida1/


How are the strokes and marks associated with letterforms used to create a timeless setting for San Francisco Opera’s new production of Aida?

RETNA’s art, which combines elements of traditional street art with hieroglyphics, draws from a variety of typographies, including Arabic, Egyptian, Hebrew, Old English, and Native American.

RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis) was born in 1979 in Los Angeles. At the age of fifteen, he began painting on posted fashion advertisements and, from there, led one of the largest and most innovative art collectives in the city. His work has exhibited at institutions and galleries in Los Angeles (including the façade of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Grand Avenue location for their 2013 Gala celebrating the exhibitionArt In The Streets), Miami, London, New York (including the prestigious public exhibition space of the Houston-Bowery Wall), and Hong Kong.

Concurrently, RETNA’s work can also be seen at the Legion of Honor. The Future of the Past: Mummies and Medicine, is on view May 14, 2016–August 26, 2018.


WHAT’S IN A NAME? #artisatthecenter activity

Try creating your own “glyph,” inspired by the letters in your name.