The 21st Beijing Music Festival opened Friday, with a new version of the traditional Peking opera Ba Wang Bie Ji (Farewell My Concubine) as its opening performance.
The performance starred renowned Peking opera performers Yang Chi and Ding Xiaojun, and was conducted by Hu Bingxu, a pioneer in combining orchestras and Chinese folk music performers in Chinese drama performances.
Ba Wang Bie Ji is a romantic and tragic story based on the legend of ancient hero Xiang Yu and his beloved concubine Yu. He was defeated during his endeavors to unify China against Liu Bang, the eventual founder of the Han Dynasty over 2,200 years ago.
Having lost his battle for the throne, Xiang refused to cross a river to save his life.
This version of Ba Wang Bie Ji, directed by Chinese artist Chen Shi-zheng, is a new interpretation of the classic opera that introduces digital stage effects and modern dancing into the performance of the classic drama.
Instead of "innovation for innovation's sake", new features were added to better convey the spirit of the story, said Chen.
The music festival will last from Oct. 12 to 26, presenting a total of 21 performances.
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