The Hong Kong Ballet | Newly Commissioned Ballet The Dream of the Red Chamber

September 9, 2013

Press Releases

The Dream of the Red Chamber – A newly commissioned ballet co-produced by The Hong Kong Ballet and Ballett Dortmund

A truly international collaboration

Liu Yu-yao, as Dai Yu

Liu Yu-yao, as Dai Yu
Photography: Almond Chu

Chinese wisdom asserts that ‘blood is thicker than water’ but can loyalty to family overpower the longings of true love? The Hong Kong Ballet will present the International Première of The Dream of the Red Chamber, an all-new interpretation that looks back through many centuries of China’s history at the epic love story at the heart of one of the greatest Chinese classical novels of all time. Co-produced by The Hong Kong Ballet and Ballett Dortmund and choreographed by Wang Xin Peng, Artistic Director of Ballett Dortmund, 10 performances will be staged at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Grand Theatre from 25th October to 3rd November 2013 with live accompaniment by Hong Kong Sinfonietta. The Dream of the Red Chamber will officially launch the Hong Kong Dance Festival 2013.

This new ballet marks the first collaboration between The Hong Kong Ballet and Ballett Dortmund.  Situated in the Ruhr region of Germany, Ballett Dortmund is part of a larger performing arts organisation, Theater Dortmund. Wang Xin Peng has been Artistic Director of the ballet company since 2003, and the Company has performed many one-act and full-length works created by him over the last decade. Wang Xin Peng’s most high-profile project was in 2000, when he collaborated with the well-known stage director Zhang Yimou to create a ballet version of Zhang’s iconic film, Raise the Red Lantern for the National Ballet of China. The ballet had its world première in Beijing on 2nd May 2001, and since then it has been performed nearly 200 times in more than 30 cities in China and abroad to a total audience of more than two hundred thousand people①.

Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of The Hong Kong Ballet said “It’s very exciting to be involved in the creation of a new work, especially one that is so fundamentally inspired by China’s cultural heritage. The ballet uses Wang Xin Peng’s very distinctive style, combining classical and contemporary dance styles with a very modern interpretation. The Gala première of this ballet was presented in Dortmund last November, and it received rave reviews from the media and heartfelt applause from the audience. We hope it will be as widely appreciated here in Hong Kong.”

“This is my first Chinese-themed ballet,” said Choreographer Wang Xin Peng, “and 2013 is my tenth year at Ballett Dortmund, so The Dream of the Red Chamber carries special significance for me. I’m delighted to present this ballet to Hong Kong audiences, who are very international but at the same time retain a deep-rooted Chinese legacy.”

The production is the most international that The Hong Kong Ballet has staged – the team of seasoned professionals that has come together to produce this epic ballet is multinational – choreographer and Artistic Director of Ballett Dortmund Wang Xin Peng is Chinese by birth, but has lived and worked in Europe for almost 20 years; costume designer Han Chunqi, who was the head designer of the costumes for the Beijing Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, is Chinese; dramaturge Christian Baier is Austrian and set designer Frank Fellman is German; and the ballet is set to music by Golden Globe winning British composer Michael Nyman. The creative team also includes many Hong Kongers, including chief stylist Flora Zeta Cheong-leen and lighting designer Leo Cheung. There are a total of 32 roles and 70 dancers involved in the ballet, more than 170 costumes are newly designed and all sets are brand new. The Company recruited around 50 additional dancers at a special audition, and is aiming to recruit professional models to take part in the production as well.

The Dream of the Red Chamber’s tickets are available from 23rd August 2013 at all URBTIX outlets and via the URBTIX website. A special 15% off will be offered when you buy The Dream of the Red Chamber and The Nutcracker at the same time. $1500 (VIP) ticketholders will be entitled to attend a special meet and greet session with The Hong Kong Ballet’s dancers on stage after the performance, plus a complimentary drink. Simply present the ticket stub at The Hong Kong Ballet’s reception counter on 2/F, Grand Theatre Foyer on the performance date to redeem the complimentary drink coupon. Each ticket stub is valid for one free drink only. For details, please visit Hong Kong Ballet’s website or email to marketing@hkballet.com.

About Wang Xin Peng

Born in Dalian, Wang Xin Peng started his dance education in his hometown. After performing as a Principal Dancer for many years he began his choreographic career in 1996. Since then, he has been invited to create ballets for many world-class ballet companies throughout Europe, and in China. His most high-profile project came in 2000, when he collaborated with the well-known stage director Zhang Yimou to create a ballet version of Zhang’s iconic film, Raise the Red Lantern for the National Ballet of China.

Since 2003 Wang Xin Peng has been Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer at Ballett Dortmund, where he has created an outstanding body of work. His most recent commission was to create a ballet in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Le Sacre du Printemps for the National Ballet of China.

About The Dream of the Red Chamber

The Dream of the Red Chamber weaves a rich social tapestry that looks back through centuries of China’s history at the country’s greatest love story, intertwined with melancholy threads of duty and despair.

The sun is setting over Grand View Garden at the rich and powerful House of Kia. Pao Yu, the only son of the family, has found the great love of his life; his cousin Lin Dai Yu. However, his family insists he should marry another cousin, Pao Tschai. Denied happiness with Pao Yu, Lin Dai Yu dies with a broken heart. Pao Yu cannot forget her and mourns her death for so long that the material world loses all significance, and he retreats to become a monk. In Pao Yu’s eyes, the forbidden love between him and Lin Dai Yu transcends all; the passing of time, the rise and fall of dynasties and even the shifting of society’s values.

The Dream of the Red Chamber performance details

25-27.10.2013 – 7:30PM, 26-27.10.2013 – 2:30PM
1-3.11.2013 – 7:30PM, 2-3.11.2013 – 2:30PM
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
10 performances
Box office opens 23rd August 2013
Programme Duration: approximately 2 hour and 15 minutes
Suitable for ages 6 and above

The Dream of the Red Chamber is the opening programme of Hong Kong Dance Festival 2013

Choreographer: Wang Xin Peng
Choreographic Assistant: Raimondo Rebeck
Chinese Dance Choreographic Assistant: Shao Weiqiu
Music: Michael Nyman (Music by Michael Nyman, by arrangement with Chester Music Limited on behalf of Michael Nyman Limited)
Concept and Story: Christian Baier
Set Designer: Frank Fellmann
Costume Designer: Han Chunqi
Chief Stylist: Flora Zeta Cheong-Leen
Assistant Costume Designer: Cui Xiaodong
Lighting Designer: Leo Cheung
Video Designer: Piotr Gregorowicz
Production Manager: Tobias Ehinger
Live Accompaniment: Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Conductor: Motonori Kobayashi

About The Hong Kong Ballet

One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution with an identity that fully reflects the unique vitality of Hong Kong. The Company turns 34 in 2013, and over time it has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with accomplished dancers, a strong repertoire, and sparkling, technically challenging productions.

The Company’s artistic team is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, with over 40 dancers originating from all over the world. The Company performs a repertoire that combines classical masterpieces and acclaimed contemporary works from the 19th  to 21st centuries, as well as new commissions. Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has continued to raise its international profile with more than 30 tours.  Most recently, in the summer of 2012, the Company made its debut appearance at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival – the longest-running international dance festival in North America – and then performed in Aspen, Montreal and Santa Fe. An integral part of the Company’s activities is its extensive education and community outreach programme, which brings the art of ballet to students as well as to the wider community of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Ballet is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Hong Kong Ballet is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

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