Epic, millenium-spanning Chinese love story part of the China Fringe Festival
This article is from 2011.
A night at the opera takes on a whole new meaning with Qing Cheng, an elaborate yet moving Chinese musical making its European debut at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall as part of the China Fringe Festival. Top billing in a week of cutting-edge entertainment from the stars of Chinese popular culture and China’s young stars of the future, the spectacular Qing Cheng is an everlasting love story that crosses the centuries over a time span of 1,000 years.
Qingcheng, which means ‘green city’, is a mountain in ancient China and is where the story starts, with Princess Jade heading to its summit, desperate to find a cure for her sick mother. But it’s dangerous territory up in the tranquil beauty of the mountains and Princess Jade needs a hero to rescue her. No problem, as along comes the dashing Murong, who puts his own life at stake to save that of the princess. Needless to say, they fall head over heels in love, but sadly have to part and wait 1,000 years until meeting up again.
With music by the versatile young Chinese composer Guo Sida, and costumes by Tim Yip, known to western audiences for his Oscar-winning designs for hit movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Qing Cheng also benefits from a real-life husband and wife in the main roles. They actually met at Qingcheng mountain, amid the devastation of the 2008 earthquake in the area, and, like the characters they play, soon fell in love. After spending three months living and breathing the show, Wang Lida, who plays the princess, says: ‘We know each other better and love each other more deeply now.’ Guo Sida’s score covers a range of styles, including Taoist music, swooping strings and glittering glissandi with an emotional appeal that heads straight for the heart.
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 5–Sun 7 Aug, part of the Edinburgh Fringe – win tickets at list.co.uk/offers. China Fringe Festival, various venues, Thu 4 Aug–Wed 10 Aug.