Littlemeat Productions, Jennifer Wen Ma Studio
LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL 2016 PRESENTS
a new Installation Opera
GERALD W. LYNCH THEATER, JOHN JAY COLLEGE, 524 W. 59TH ST.
JULY 13, JULY 15, AND JULY 16 - 8pm
Paradise Interrupted, a 16th century Ming Dynasty romance inspires an empowering tale of self-actualization in the mesmerizing new installation opera by award-winning composer Huang Ruo and artist Jennifer Wen Ma - a Lincoln Center Festival co-commission, presented on the Festival's opening night. Traditional Chinese and contemporary Western idioms intertwine in the one-act opera, that opens with a dream of an erotic encounter with an ideal lover, triggering a psychological quest for an unattainable perfect love through a stunning and surreal garden, inspired by both the biblical story of Eve's search for utopia after being expelled from the Garden of Eden and the Kun opera, The Peony Pavilion, dating from 1598.
The avant-garde opera, composed by Huang Ruo, musically weaves the melismatic vocal style of kunqu with Western tonality in the haunting, sensual score. The opera features the celebrated Chinese kunqu singer Qian Yi, who was lauded by The New York Times as "...China's reigning opera princess" following her performance in the Lincoln Center Festival's 20-hour production of The Peony Pavilion in 1999. Joining soprano Qian Yi onstage is a vocal quartet consisting of tenor (Yi Li), countertenor (John Holiday), baritone (Joo Won Kang), and bass baritone (Ao Li). Wen-Pin Chien leads the chamber orchestra of Western and Chinese instruments including the pipa (lute), sheng (mouth organ), and dizi (bamboo flutes), plus the vocal quartet consisting of tenor, countertenor, baritone, and bass baritone. The opera's world premiere at Spoleto Festival USA in May 2015 was lauded by the Wall Street Journal to have "gloriously fused Western and Chinese idioms, modernity and tradition." Paradise Interrupted is sung in Mandarin with English supertitles.
Paradise Interrupted is the first opera by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma, who designs and directs the production, centering on the garden and multi-media projections. "The Garden", an ebony pop up accordion paper installation that slowly expands and envelopes the stage, references Chinese scroll paintings that also inspire Wen Ma's public art projects worldwide (from Beijing to New York to Brazil and more) for which the artist paints live gardens with black calligraphy ink transforming them into 3D Chinese landscape scrolls. Live multi-media projections, activated by the soprano's voice through interactive technology, bring a host of elusive characters and lush visual and colorful elements to life along her journey. The opera extends Wen Ma's interdisciplinary practice, with major works commissioned by museums worldwide and for large-scale public art projects. She received global recognition for her work on the design team for the Emmy-award winning opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Paradise Interrupted will travel to Singapore in September 2016, and additional locations in Asia and Europe will be announced on www.littlemeat.net.
Performance Schedule: Three performances will be presented at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College, 524 W. 59th Street, July 13, July 15, and July 16 at 8 pm. Running time: 80 minutes, no intermission. Programs, artists, and ticket prices are subject to change.
Tickets: LincolnCenterFestival.org; David Geffen Hall or Alice Tully Hall Box Offices; or CenterCharge, 212.721.6500.
Paradise Interrupted is co-commissioned and co-produced by Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, and Singapore International Festival of Arts with the generous support of Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang—Tang Family Foundation.
Lincoln Center Festival lead support is provided by American Express.
Lincoln Center Festival 2016 is also made possible by The Shubert Foundation, Nancy A. Marks, LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Katzenberger Foundation, Inc., Jennie and Richard DeScherer, J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, Sharp Fund PLD at The New York Community Trust, Great Performers Circle, Chairman's Council, and Friends of Lincoln Center.
Public support for Lincoln Center Festival 2016 is provided the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.
Endowment support is provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Nancy Abeles Marks.
MetLife is the National Sponsor of Lincoln Center.
"Summer at Lincoln Center" is supported by Diet Pepsi.
More about the artists:
Huang Ruo, First Prize winner of the Luxembourg International Composition Prize, draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic integration using a compositional technique he calls "dimensionalism." His music has been premiered and performed by the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and National Polish Radio Orchestra and under conductors such as Wolfgang Sawallisch, James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, and Ed Spanjaard, among many others. Huang Ruo's opera, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, received its American premiere by the Santa Fe Opera in 2014. He is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Future In REverse (FIRE) and was selected as a Young Leader Fellow by the National Committee on United States–China Relations in 2006. He recently has also been named Composer-in-Residence for the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Jennifer Wen Ma lives and works between New York and Beijing with an interdisciplinary practice that bridges varied media such as installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theatre; often bringing together unlikely elements in a single piece, creating sensitive, poetic and poignant works. Major projects with international institutions include: "A Beautiful Disorder" at Cass Sculpture Foundation, 2016; "What About the Art?" at Qatar Museums, 2016; Paradise Interrupted previewed at the Temple of Dendur, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Flux Projects, Atlanta; Market Square Public Art Program, Pittsburgh, 2015; 5x5 Nonument Park, Washington DC; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2014; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, 2013; Cambio Cultural, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2013; Performa 13, New York, 2013; The Republic of China Centennial Grand Countdown, Taipei, 2010; Biennale of Sydney, 2010; Echigo-Tsumari Triennial, Japan, 2009; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, 2009; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2008; and the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2008, among others. Solo exhibitions include: Hanart Square, Hong Kong, 2013; Ullens Center For Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012; Eslite Gallery, Taipei, 2012; and The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, 2009. Permanent public installations include: Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cube, The National Aquatic Center, Beijing, 2013; In-Between World--Daydream Nation, Digital Beijing Building, 2008; Aeolian Garden, city of Colle di Val d'Elsa, Italy, 2005, among others. In 2008, Ma was one of the seven members on the core creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, and the chief designer for visual and special effects. She received an Emmy for the US broadcast of the ceremony. Her first major monograph was published in 2013 by Charta, distributed by DAP.
Qian Yi was cast in the lead role of Lincoln Center Festival's epic 20-hour production of The Peony Pavilion in 1999. The production toured internationally, playing at major international festivals in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Since coming to the U.S., she has starred in numerous re-workings of Chinese opera for a Western theater context, including Ghost Lovers (Spoleto Festival USA), The Orphan of Zhao and My Life as A Fairytale (Lincoln Center Festival), and Snow in June (American Repertory Theater). In 2008, she had her Western opera premiere, singing a leading role in the San Francisco Opera's new production of Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter. Most recently, she starred in the Contemporary Legend Theatre's The Butterfly Dream, which premiered at Taiwan's National Theater as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.
Wen-Pin Chien, conductor, won Taiwan's National Awards for Arts in 2014 and has been appointed as Artistic Director designee of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, which is due to open in late 2017. Since the 1996-97 season, he has been Kapellmeister of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. As the Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. Chien was the central artistic force behind its innovative annual Subscription Concerts and Opera series, including the first-ever production in the Chinese speaking regions of Wagner's complete Ring cycle in 2006. Highlights from his career also include conducting the Deutsche Oper am Rhein's tour production of Der Rosenkavalier (2007) and Opera Australia's Carmen (2009) at the National Theater in Taipei; conducted the world premiere of Franz Hummel's Beuys and Anno Schreier's Mörder Kaspar Brand, the German premiere of Peter Eötvös's Drei Schwestern, Giorgio Battistelli's Richard III and the world première of Eleni Karaindrou's ballet Phädra at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein; and appearing as a guest conductor at the Wiener Kammeroper, The Nederlands Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Graz, and Theater Bonn.
Lincoln Center Festival, now in its 21st season, has received worldwide attention for presenting some of the broadest and most original performing arts programs in Lincoln Center's history. The festival has presented nearly 1422 performances of opera, music, dance, theater, and interdisciplinary forms by internationally acclaimed artists from more than 50 countries. To date, the festival has commissioned more than 43 new works and offered some 143 world, U.S., and New York premieres. It places particular emphasis on showcasing contemporary artistic viewpoints and multidisciplinary works that challenge the boundaries of traditional performance. LincolnCenterFestival.org.
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